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|3tel)istoric America. 

The Mound Builders. 

Animal Effigies. 

The Gliff Dwellers. 

Ruined Cities 
Myths and Symbols. 





The Beginnings of Architecture 

BY <- 


Member of the American Antiquarian Society ; Xezu England Historical 

and Genealogical Society : Corresponding Member American Oriental 

Society ; Numismatic Society, New York : Victoria Institute ; Society 

Biblical Archccology ; also. Editor American Antiguarian 

and Oriental Journal. 




^i'^.7 ^^ 



Age and Distribution of Monuments i 

The Monuments of Europe and America Compared. .. . 15 

The Earliest Home of the Human Race 31 

The Beginnings of Architecture 47 

Earth and Stone Circles 59 

Boats, Roads, Bridges and Ancient Canals 75 

Coast and Maritime Structures 97 

Origin of the Arch and Column 113 

Rock-Cut Structures and the History of Architec- 
ture 133 

Pyramids and Palaces in America 161 


Defensive Architecture IN America 183 

Houses and House Life .... 221 

Ethnic Style in American Architecture 245 





Architecture OF Civilized Races of America 277 

Ancient Temple Architecture 309 

Scenery and Architecture in Mexico 333 

ToLTEC Cities and Toltec Civilization 357 

Architectural Styles in the Old and the New World 373 

Palaces and Temples in Central America 397 

Buried Cities in Honduras 419 

Ruined Cities in Peru 451 



Palaeolithic Cave in Bavaria 2 

Kitchen Midden on the Northwest Coast 4 

Chambered Cairn.— Bee-Hive Hut H 

Chambered Cairn at Maeshowe 12 

Dolmen in Denmark. — Kits Cotty House 13 

Dolmen in Peru i'4 

Holed Dolmen in France. — Trilith in France 25 

Roofed Dolmens 26 

Mound and Earth Circle near Portsmouth, Ohio 27 

Mound and Earth Circle in Great Britain 28 

Earliest Map of the World V- 

Tree in the Maya Calendar 33 

Bark Record of the Deluge 36 

Constellations in the Northern Sky 39 

The Calendar of the Mayas 42 

Cyclopoean Wall at Athens 44 

View of the Babylonian Plam 45 

Primitive Houses in Tropical Lands 48 

Earliest Style of Wall 5° 

Quarry-Dressed Stones.— Ruugh Bosses and Comb Margins. . 52 

Wall with Abutments at Jerusalem < 53 

Carved Posts and Rafters 56 

Stonehenge Restored 64 

Avebury according to Stukely 65 

Part of the Circle at Stonehenye 69 

Circles and Avenues at Avebury 70 

Circles and Avenues at Portsmouth. Ohio 71 

Concentric Orientated Circle 72 

Graded Road at Piketon, Ohio 83 

Covered Ways Connecting Village Enclosures 84 

Covered Ways Leading to Sacrificial Place 85 

Montezuma Wells 86 

Irrigating Canal in Arizona 87 

Canal and Reservoir at Pecos 88 

Pueblo Canal 89 

Aqueduct at Segovia 9° 

Water Basin in Mexico 9I 

Montezuma Meeting Cortes 94 

Shell-Bordered Keys Off the Coast of Florida 103 

Pile Dwellings in Manilla no 

Lake Dwellings ni 

Arch Found in South America 118 

Algonquin Huts. — Conical Hut in Scotland 120 

Arched Entrance to the Great Pyramid at Ghizeb 125 



Wall of Tiryns, Treasury at Atreus. Lion Gateway at Mycenae. 126 

Campbell's Tomb.— Arched Covering to a Sewer 127 

Temple at Ephesus '28 

Casa de Monjas '32 

The Ancient Mazzabah i3*< '35 

Rock-Cut Temple at Petra 1 36 

The Fortress, or Watchtower '37 

The Rock-Cut Court '38 

The Main Approach '39 

The Two Altars '4° 

The Pool, or Laver of Purification, with Court in Backgiound 141 

The Square Altar '42 

The Round Altar '43 

Temple of Ra '47 

Statues in the Interior of the Temple '49 

Dolmen with Rude Columns '5° 

Columnar Dolmen in Europe '52 

Gateways at Samos and Phigalia in Greece i55 

Earliest Arch '56 

Rock-Cut House and Doorway in Bashan > 58 

Tomb of Midas '59 

Pyramid at Sakkarah '62 

The Pyramid, the Sphinx and Its Temple 164 

Pyramid Mound in Ohio • • ' 7 ' 

Pyramid at Etowah '72 

The Governor's House at Uxmal '73 

Pyramid at Papantla '75 

Pyramid at Izamal '7^ 

Temple of the Magicians '79 

Panorama of the Pyramids and Palace at Uxmal 181 

Champlain and the Iroquois '9^ 

Verazzano's Picture of the New England Coast 198 

Ruins in Montezuma Canon, Utah 202 

Cliff Village and Cliff House in Mancos Canon 207 

F.stufa in Mancos Canon 209 

Ruins on the Rio San Juan 210 

Ornament over a Thllnkeet Door 215 

Coat of Arms in Sumatra 216 

Towers in Peru. — Staircase in Peru 217 

Huts of Fishermen and Hunters at Sault St. Marie 226 

A House Common Among the Sierras • 231 

Plan of Mandan House .... •• • 233 

Long House of the Iroquois 234 

Room in a Pueblo 242 

Ground Plan of an Eskimo House 249 

A Thlinkeet House, with a Thunder Bird for a Totem 251 

Totem Posts 252 

A Haidah House 258 

Totem Posts 254 

The Conical Hpuie of the Wichitas 257 



Long House of the Iroquois 258 

Ancient Village Site at Walnut Bayou 259 

Ancient Toltec City at Teotihuacan 25Q 

Ground Plan of the Nunnery at Copan 261 

The Palace at Palenque 262 

The Tower at Palenque . 263 

Snake Column. — Column at Chichenllza • . 266 

Cliff Palace at Mancos Canon 267 

A Pueblo Altar. — Masked Dancers 268 

View of Moqui Pueblos 260 

Scenery in the Pueblo Region 270 

Toltec Altar at Teotihuacan.— Toltec Costumes 272 

Figures Painted on Interior Walls 273 

Corner at Labna 274 

Fagade of Palace at Kabah 275 

Temple of Mugheir 281 

Temple of Borsippa 282 

Pyramid of Meydoum 283 

The Pyramid of Cholula 284 

Pyramid at Copan 285 

Pyramids of the Sun and Moon at Teotihuacan 286 

CyclopcL-an Wall in Cuzco, Peru 288 

Terrace Walls in Fortress at Cuzco • 289 

Section of Terraces in Fortress at Cuzco 289 

Stone Cist in a Mound in Missouri • ■ • 290 

Regular Masonry— Cliff-Dweller's House 290 

Wall on Mesa 291 

House on Island of Titicaca.— Governor's House at Uxmal. . . 292 

Wall in Temple at Jerusale.m 293 

Egyptian Tomb 294 

Imitation of Lattice Work and Roman Key, at Casa de Monjas 294 

F.lephant's Trunk and Eye and Ear Ornaments at Mitla 295 

Bars with Serpent Heads, at Casa de Monjas 295 

Pyramid of Xochicalco 296 

Doors used as Windows 297 

Gateway in Tiahuanaco 298 

Tomb of the Third Pyramid 299 

Cross-Section of Corridors at Uxmal.— Trefoil Arch 301 

False Arch from South America 3°' 

Arch at Kabah 3^2 

Roman Key, Clustered Column', Banded Cornice and False 

Arch at Labna 303 

Tomb of Beni-Hassan 3^4 

Ruins of Seti 30'> 

Temple at Quarnah. — The Memnonium 306 

Column from Palenque 3°? 

Obelisk in Moab 3 ' - 

Open Air Temple at Avebury 3'3 

Open Air Temple in Peru 3'4 

Shintoo Temples and Buddhist Towers 3'7 



Chinese Temple 319 

Chinese Temple and Stairways 320 

Chinese Pagoda 321 

Caracol at Mayapan 322 

Symbolic Hut and Manitou Face 323 

Primitive Temples in the Old World 325 

The Shrine at Palenque 326 

Winged Circle in Yucatan 327 

Columnar Temple at Uxmal 328 

Obelisks and Column at Karnak 330 

Serpent Wall in Mexico 355 

Toltec Gate — Fortification, near Mitla 366 

Panoramic View of Teotihuacan 371 

Acropolis at Athens 374 

Hill Fortress in Peru 375 

Pyramid of Quemada 377 

Decorated Room in Phoenicia 379 

Winged Lion at Ninevah. — Human Figures in Solomon Islands 380 

Mythologic Column from New Zealand 381 

Square Piers in Tulan, Mexico 383 

CoUouade at B?.albek 3^5 

Frieze Ornament at Palenque. — Arch at Tiryns 386 

Tau Ornament at Palenque 386 

Ruined Arch at Camalcalco 387 

Colossal Head at Izamal 388 

Transverse Section of Building of Double Beam Span 390 

Arch at Monte Alban 39' 

Section of the Hall of Columns, and Apartments in the Rear. 394 

Panorama of Mitla 395 

Palaces and Temples at Uxmal 398, 399 

Plan of Temple 400 

Animal Headed Throne 401 

Seated Figure with Plumed Head-Dress 402 

Palace at Zayi 404 

Serpent Facade at Uxmal 405 

Palace with Columns at Kabah 406 

Palaces and Temples at Chichen 407 

Arched Ccirridor at Palenque 409 

Palace Stairway at Palenque 410 

Temple of the Cross 411 

Tablet of the Beau Relief 412 

Statue of Tlaloc 4 » 3 

Sculptured Doorways of the Temple at Palenque 414 

Sculptured Lintel at Lorillard 4 '6 

Panorama of Copan 420 

Hieroglyphic Stairway at Copan 424 

Sculptured Tiger Found Beneath the City of Mexico 425 

Animal Altar Found Buried in the City of Mexico 426 

Sculptured Figures on Lintel at Lorillard 43° 

Sculptured Slab 433 



Ornamented Wall of Buried City in Honduras 435 

Frescoes on the Walls of a Buried Temple 436 

Serpent Stairway at Palenque 443 

Inca's Chair at Puno 457 

Suspension Bridge Over the Rio Pampas 460 

Sun Dial " Inti-Huatana,"' near Pisac 461 

Gateway of Cemetery at Tiahuanaco 463 

Lake Titicaca and Palace 465 

Engraved Sandstone Pillars and Pavement 466 

Ornamental Wall near Limatambo 467 

Ruined Wall near Chimu 468 

Pyramid near Nepena 470 

Palace with Courts and Huaca near Truxillo 471 

Burial Mound near Truxillo 472 

Burial Mound and Chulpas near Lima 473 


Frontispiece— Columnar Temple with Greek Frets at Piedras 


Rude Huts of the California Indians 8 

Homes of Maritime People 8 

Pile-Dwellings near Borneo 9 

Houses of the Dyaks Built on High Posts 9 

Dolmen of Grand Island, Dolmen of Lochmariaquer, France 30 

Circle at Stonehenge. — Ruined Tower 31 

Excavated Remains of the Ancient Temple at Gezei 50 

Excavations in the Temple Court, showing Pavement of Ur Gur 51 

Lion Gateway at Mycenae 54 

Obelisk of Thothmei at Kirnak 55 

Dolmens of the Necropolis in France 66 

Grave Circle at Mycenae 67 

A Dug-oat and Savage — Prehistoric 76 

Clinker-Boat from Norway— Historic 76 

Boat on Northwest Coast 77 

Canoe Found in a Peat Bog 88 

Ancient Egyptian Boat 89 

Ancient Canals in Arizona 90 

Reservoir Used by the Cllff-Dwellers 91 

Native Boats and Modern Steamer in Sitka 92 

Mexican Boats and Spanish Brigantines 92 

Roads and Bridges and Ancient Cities Described by De Solis. 93 
Boats and Vessels of the Philippines. — Boats and Cannis in 

China 96 

The Grand Canal, near Shanghai. — Foo Chow, China 97 

General Plan of the Key at Marco 102 

Shell Walls at Marco 103 

Wooden Tablets from the Island Key 107 

Native Villages in the Philippine Islands no 

Maritime Structures in the Caroline Islands in 



Arched Room at Uxmal 119 

Statues of Memnon in Kgypt 15° 

Columns in the Tomb of Beni Hassan and in the Memnonium 151 

Rock-Cut Temple in India '58 

The Hindoo Triad Brahma Vishnu and Siva 159 

Pyramid and Palace at Uxmal 176 

Temple and Pyramid at Palenque I77 

Horieman Signalling Village 187 

Smoke Warning '89 

Native Indians Using Sign Language 191 

Map of the Mississippi '93 

Houses of the Cliff-Dwellers 228 

Cliff Dwellmgs and Their Surroundings 238 

Totem Poles and Houses on the Northwest Coast 246. 247 

Tepees of the California Indians 248 

Houses of the Comanches.— Houses of the Mandans 249 

Cliff-Dwelling, Sonora.— Cliff- Palace in Mancos Cafion 274 

Facade of the Nunnery at Chichen-Itza.— General View of 

the Palaces at Uxmal 275 

Ruined Palace at Xkickmook— the Northwest 276 

Facade with Columns, Edifice No. 5, at XKickmook, Yucatan 277 

Pyramid of Gireh 300 

The City of Mexico as Rebuilt by the Spaniards.— Ancient 

City of Mexico 322 

Stonehenge by Moonlight 3^3 

Tempi*: of the Tigers and El Castillo at Chichen-Itza 326 

Ruined Temples at Xkichmook, Yucatan 327 

Solomon's Temple at Jerusalem 33° 

Temples of Saturn and Vespasian at Rome -331 

Temple at Olympia. Greece 332 

Columnar Temple and Acropolis at Athens 334 

View of Orizaba, Mexico.— Scenery in Mexico 340, 341 

Pyramid of Teotihuacan.— Scenery at Teotihuacan 356, 357 

San Juan Teotihuacan from the Pyramid of the Moon 360 

View Looking East Along the Pathway of the Dead 394 

Basement Galleries and Columnar Roof Support at Mitla 370 

Panorama of Palenque.— Temple of the Sun at Palenque. 408, 409 

Tablet Inside the Temple of the Cross 416 

Stela at Copan 427 

Sela H— Female Figure • • 439 

Stela I at Copan 445 

Stela N— Male Figure 446 

Palace at Cuzco, Restored.— Palace at Babylon, Restored 453 


^THE ruined cities which are spoken of in this book are 
* situated in the two continents of Asia and America, 
and are seperated from one another not only by the great 
seas, but by many centuries of time, for the cities of 
Babylonia are supposed to have been built 5,000 years be- 
fore Christ, while those of Central America do not date 
earlier than 500 years after Christ. 

The author, in treating of these cities, has shown that 
there were many rude monuments which preceded them, 
and that there was a growth from these, through successive 
stages which were parallel in all lands. 

A chapter is given to the description of the earliest 
home of the human race, and it is shown, according to the 
evidence furnished by recent explorations, that this was in 
the valley of the Tigris, in the ver}' locality where the 
Garden of Eden was located. This chapter is followed by 
another which illustrates the different stages through 
which architecture passed; stages which are shown in the 
character of the walls, as well as the buildings and decora- 

Chapters are given on the origin of the arch and the 
column; on pyramids and palaces in America; on houses 
and house life; on the architecture of the civilized races; 
on ancient temples and palaces; on the Toltec cities; buried 
cities of Honduras and the ruined cities of Peru. 

A chapter is given on such common things as boats, 
roads, bridges, and ancient canals, which is designed to 
show that there was as much progress in these, as in the 
house architecture, or in that of palaces and temples. The 
object is to show the growth of architecture from its earli- 
est beginnings in pre-historic times, up to the date of the 
opening of historj^ and that parallel stages can be recog- 
nized in all lands 

In the chapter on village life and village architecture it 
is shown that cities, even in prehistoric times, grew out of 
villages,',but the village was generally^made up of a number 


of clan residences, and that there were no such seperate 
habitations as in modern times. The chapter on the arch and 
column illustrates the laws of parallel development, but 
the chapter on the architecture of different districts shows 
the diversity of architectural styles which appeared in all 

That there was a correlation between the scenery and 
the architecture is shown by a number of facts. At the 
same time the effect of material upon architectural styles 
is also manifest. The relig^ious element was, however, a 
very important factor in the g"rowth of architecture; this is 
illustrated by the chapter on ancient temples, and other 
chapters on ruined cities. 

The illustrations are drawn from a great variety of 
sources, and exhibit the different forms of structure which 
w^ere erected in all lands. It is not only in Asia that ruined 
cities are to be found, for they are scattered over the entire 
world, and they all present features which are very in- 
structive, as to the natural and acquired skill of the differ- 
ent races of the earth in erecting habitations and inventing 
architectural ornaments. America is as instructive in this 
respect as any other land, and has this advantage; that it 
was so widely seperated from other lands that the growth 
of architecture seems to have been entirely independent, 
and uninfluenced by the inventions of tribes and races which 
had emigrated, and brought with them the styles which had 
grown up elsewhere. 

The plates and cuts which have been used in the book 
have been taken from a variety of sources; some of them 
from the old Spanish writers; others from more recent 
travellers; a few have been reproduced from photographs 
taken upon the spot. Some of these may seem familiar, 
but all are valuable in illustrating the points made. 






































The Monuments of the Stone Age. 



The knowledge of the Stone Age has generally been ac- 
quired by the study of the different implements and relics, 
the material of which they are composed giving the name. 
The distinction between the three ages has also been marked 
by the same means, as the abundance of stone relics gave the 
name to the Stone Age, the bronze relics gave their name to 
the Bronze Age, and the prevalence of iron, the name to the 
Iron Age. There are many advantages to this system which 
makes the material of the relics a sign of the age, and, for this 
reason, it has long been very popular, and useful. The advant- 
ages may be enumerated as follows; first, the relics may be 
gathered into the museums and classified according to the 
material, and by the means the stage of culture, which had 
been reached, is at once brought before the eye; second, the 
increase of skill in making tools, weapons, and implements, 
and the growth of art during the prehistoric period are 
plainly shown by the study of the relics of various kinds, 
especially if we include the various specimens of pottery and 
shell-work, and textile fabrics; third, another advantage is that 
a comparison may be made between those which are gathered 
from widely separated localities. It is by this means that the 
law of parallel development may be recognized, and the pro- 
gress of the different nations during the prehistoric period 
may be clearly seen. 

Now taking these advantages together, it is not at all strange 
that the study of the relics has been a favorite one, and that 
the science of archccology has so rapidly advanced. There are, 
however, as many advantages coming to us from the study of 
the monuments as from the study of the relics. They are as 

I. The view of primitive society which is gained from the 
study of the monuments, is much clearer and more compre- 
hensive than from the study of the relics. It is true that the 
relics gathered in museums do show the various stages of pro- 

gress through which man has passed, hut thc' difficulties 
which have been overcome cannot be realized until we go to 
the field and study the environments. 

2. Man's power in adapting himself to his circumstances 
is shown by this means. In this his superiority over all other 
creatures is proven. The animals, to be sure, do adapt them- 
selves to their circumstances, hut they are so affected by their 
surroundings that ultimately their own natures change; they, 
in fact, yield to nature, and they are modified by her. With 
man, the case is different; he, ex'erywhere, proves himself a 
conqueror and shows himself to be superior to his surround- 
ings. The. law of survival of the fittest is illustrated in him 
far more than in any of the animals. 


3. The progress of man in architecture as well as in art is 
shown by the monuments when seen in the field. There may, 
indeed, be a few specimens of architecture brought from afar 
and gathered into the museums, and the styles of ornamenta- 
tion may be compared by this means, but the massiveness, the 
strength, and the stability of the works of man are never 
shown by these specimens. They are mere fragments and 
have no such settings as are shown where they are seen in 
their natural surroundings. Even the rudest specimens of 
man's handiwork prove at times to be very impressive, for the 
building or the monument, whether made of earth, or wood, or 
stone, shows his power of making the means serve the end, 
which no mere relic can shovv. 

4. The chief advantage to be gathered from the study of 
the monuments, is that it enables us to recognize the different 
epochs which belong to the Stone Age. These epochs are not 
easily distinguished by the study of the relics, but the monu- 
ments differ so much in material, style, stages of progress, 
and degrees of finish that we may easily identify the epochs 
by them. The differences may be owing to the ethnic tastes, 
for the ethnic type is always impressed upon the structures, 
but the stages of progress are so marked that we may recog- 
nize them, even in the same region, and when we compare one 
locality with another, we may identify them with the epochs, 
and so mark subdivisions of the Stone Age. 

5- The comparison of the monuments shows that nearly 
every people has passed through the same stages of progress 
before they reached the stage of civilization. We may regard 
the monuments as the alphabet of history, marking a period 
when the human race was in a state of tutelage, in fact, in 
that state in which a child is learning to read. The art of 
constructing a sentence with a child follows that of acquiring 
the alphabet. So the art of constructing a finished building 
and giving to it such architectural features as would make it 
either substantial and enduring, or attractive to the eye, must 
follow the beginnings, which are marked by these rude struc- 
tures. There' are many rudimentary forms which mark the 
progress of the prehistoric people, and are peculiar to the i:»re- 
historic age, some of them upon this continent, others ui)()n 
the eastern continent, but all of them present characteristics 
which are worthy of especial study. 

It will be the object of this volume, to describe the monu- 
ments of the Stone Age, but we shall devote the present 
chapter to a consideration of their distribution. 

I. We will begin with the Kitchen Middens or Shell Heaps. 
These, in the strict sense of the word, are not monuments, 
and yet they are tokens which show the presence ot man in 
various parts of the world, and many of them are .-^o old as 
to make it appropriate to consider them. The Kitchen Middens 
on the coast of Denmark were brought to the notice of archaeo- 
logists at a very early date, and may be said to have laid the 
foundation of modern arch;eology. Thise were found to contain 
the bones of animals, which are still found in the sea and 
forests of the region, but contained no bones of such 
extinct animals as have been found in the caves; nor do they 
even contain any bones carved with the figures of these animals. 
It is on this account that the Kitchen-Middens are important, 
for they form the connecting links between that age in which 
man was associated with extinct animals, and that age in which 
man began to domesticate the animals. They are in rcalit)- 
the monuments of primitive man, and of the animals with 
which he has been associated. It may be well to mention the 
animals which were associated with man when he was a trog- 
lodyte, or cave dweller. Sir John Lubbock has given a list of 
these. They are as follows: Cave bear {[■rsns spchciis), cave 
hyena {Hyccna spchea), cave lion {Felis spdcea), mammoth 
(lilcplias priuiii^cnius), mastodon {/i/cp/ias aiifiquiis), hairy 
rhinoceros {Rhinoceros tichonnis), hippopotamus {llippopot- 
aniiis majoi'), musk-ox {Ovihos moscliatiis), Irish Elk {lujiais 
fossilis), glutton, aurochs {liiso/i Europaus), urus {Bos pnmi- 
genitcs). The bones of some these animals are found in Siberia 
and in Arctic America, others in southern Africa; others in 
France and Germany, the British Isles, in Siberia, and scat- 
tered f'-om B^hring Straits to Texas, but none have been fOund 

either in the tumuli of western Europe or America, or in the 
Danish shellmounds or in the Swiss lake villages.* 

There is somethirg fascinating in the thought that these 
animals were known to the ancient troglodytes of Europe, and 
that man at his early stages of existence, had to contend with 
such gigantic creatures. Lubbock says that during the earlier 
human period, England and France seem to have been in- 
habited by the gigantic Irish elk, two species of elephant, and 
three of rhinoceros, together with the reindeer, a large bear 
closely resembling the grizzly bear of the Rocky Mountains, a 
bison scarcely distinguishable from that of the American 
Prairies, the musk- 
ox of Arctic Am 
erica, the lemming 
of the Siberian 
Steppes, the lion of 
the tropics, the 
hyaena of the Cape, 
and a hippopot- 
amus closely re- 
sembling that of 
the great African 
rivers. The animab 
which were found 
in the kitchen- 
middens or shell 
mounds of Den- kitchen midden on northwest coast. 

mark are such as are peculiar to the forest and the sea. They 
are as follows: 

The stag {Crrv?/s clcphas), the roedeer, the wild boar, the urus, 
the dog, the fox, the wolf, the marten, the otter, the porpoise, the 
seal, the water rat, the beaver, the wild cat, the bear, the 
hedgehog, the mouse, traces of a small species of ox, the 
aurochs (in the peat-bogs), the aquaticbirds, such as swan, ducks, 
and geese. The urus and the domestic ox, sheep and the 
domestic hog are all absent. The flint implements resemble 
those which are characteristics of the " coast finds." They may 
be classed as shellmound axes, flint-flakes, bone and horn awls, 
pottery, stone hammers, sling stones, very few polished axes. 
The total absence of meial indicates that they had no weapons 
except those made of wood, horn, stone and bone. 

The change from association with extinct animals, to 
that with the animals which still exist was attended with a 
great change on the part of man himself. Man is no longer a 
mere troglodyte or cave dweller, but he is a house builder and 
begins his career as an architect. His social condition changes 
greatly. He is no longer a mere shaggy creature who shares 
his abode with the animals, and has no desire for progress, but 

• An exception must be n-ade of the musk ox, the aurochs, the urus, and of the mam- 
moth for all these have been found so close to the relics of the stone age as to make it 
probable that they survived to that age. 


he is a home-maker, and has a family for which he provides. 

Society ma)-, at an early stage, have been organized into clans, 

and the clans may have had all things in common, but, after 

all, the family was recognized, the hearth and home became, 

in a measure, sacred, and the house became a monument, not 

for the beast, but for humanity and all that the term implies.* 

Prof. Worsaae say.s: 

Shell mounds and coast finds are characterized by very rough flint 
implements, and are the remams of a much ruder and more barbarous 
people than that which constructed the large Stone Age tumuli, and made 
the beautiful weapons, etc, found in them. 

The chief characteristic of the shell heaps is that so many 
of them contain circles which show the sites where the circular 
huts stood. They are formed by the accumulations or the re- 
fuse, which must evidently have occupied a considerable period 
to have reached the depth which has been found in the heaps. 
The inhabitants have been compared to the Fuegians, who, 
according to Darwin, lived chiefly upon shell-fish, and were 
obliged constantly to change their place of residence, but they 
returned at intervals to the same spots, as is evident from the 
pile of old shells, which must often amount to some tons in 
weight. These heaps can be distinguished at a long distance 
by the bright green color of certain plants that grow on them. 

The wide distribution of the shell heaps has been dwelt 
upon by vatious authors, but the characteristics remain about 
the same. In Scandinavia, old hearths were brought to light, 
consisting of flat stones, on which were piles of cinders and 
fragments of wood and charcoal. In Germany, kitchen-mid- 
dens contain bone implements, the bones of domestic 
animals and numerous skeletons upon the abandoned hearths. 
In Portugal, shell heaps have been found fiom thirty-five to 
forty miles from the sea coast, sixty-five to eighty feet above 
the sea level, containing several different hearths, also ancient 
kitchen middens in the valley of the Tigris in which were 
found crouching skeletons, proving that here the home had 
become the tomb. It is evident that in all these places, man 
had made his fixed abode, and that the tent or the temporary 
shelter of the nomad had given place to the hut, but that man 
had not reached the agricultural state, for no seeds or grain or 
agricultural tools have been found in them. In America, shell 
mounds are numerous, and their size and extent bear witness 

•The changes which occurred in the fauna during the Stone Age may be learned from the 
fact that at the beginning there were no domestic animals, except the dog, but at the close 
nearly all the domestic animals were present and common. The greatest changes occurred 
during the time of the lake dwelUrs. The aurochs, the urus, the stag, the bear, and the wild 
boar were known to the early lake dwellers, for their bones have been found at Welhausen and 
elsewhere. The urus or Bo^ primigenius was tamed, crossed with other earlier types by the 
lake dwellers, and gave a variety of breeds during the Stone y\ge. The lake dwellers also 
had other domestic animals, one species of dog, a small ox, the horned sh«ep, the goat and 
the horse, though the domestic horse was not introduced till the Bronze Age. It was small 
and slender, with small hoofs, and resembled the Greek horse. It was not inferior to the wild 
horse which was hunted and eaten by the cavemen of palaolithic times. The number of 
animals slain by the lake dwellers is shown by the lact that five tons of bones were found at 
Robenhausen. There were very few domestic animals during the time of the kitchen middens, 
though the domestic dog was common. The majority of the bones are those of fish and of the 
wild animals. 

to the number of inhabitants that dwelt near them and the 
long duration of their sojourn. They all bear a close resem- 
blance to those of Europe. They show that the early inhabit- 
ants fed almost entirely on fish, their weapons, tools and pot- 
tery were almost identical in character, the use of metals was 
uncommon, and animals were of the same general character. 

There is this difference, however, that shell heaps in America 
were occupied until a late date; those on the northwest 
coast are still occupied. Those in Florida present every 
evidence of having been occupied by a people who were ac- 
customed to navigate the sea, and who erected their villages 
on the islands and ke)s which surround the coast, and have 
left many interesting tokens of their skill in defending their 
homes from the incursions of the waves as well as making the 
extensi\e bayous and lagoons into which the schools of fish 
were drixcn. The houses which stood among the shell heaps, 
and on these walls \\hich surrounded the lagoons, have dis- 
appeared; yet the character of the wooden relics which have 
been discovered, shows very considerable advance in imitative 
art as well as skill in constructing canoes, and other articles 
necessary to a sea-faring people. See plates. 

II. The Lake dwellings and Crannogs which areso numerous 
in Europe form a class of monuments which is very suggestive 
of the condition of architecture during the Stone Age. These 
are not so ancient as the kitchen middens, but they belong to 
the prehistoric period and some of them to a very early part 
of it. They are \-ery numerous in Switzerland, and are of two 
kinds, those that belong to the early Stone Age and those 
which belong to the Bronze Age, the difference between them 
consisting in the fact th^t the latter were generally built 
farther out in the water, and the piles which supported them 
were more numerous, the platforms were longer and wider, and 
the houses upon them were better built. The Lake-dwellers 
resembled the people who built the kitchen middens in that 
they lox'cd the water, and drew their subsistence from it largely, 
and had many boats in which they naxigated the lakes, but 
they differed from them in that they cultivated the land and 
raised grain and many kinds of fruit. " The discovery of these 
piles e.Ncited general interest, an interest which was redoubled 
when similar disco\-eries revealed that all the lakes of Sw'itzer- 
land were dotted with stations that had been built long cen- 
turies before in the midst of the water.--. Twenty such stations 
were made out on Lake Bienne, twenty-four on the Lake of 
Geneva, thirty on Lake Constance, forty-nine on that of 
Neuchatel, and others, though not so many, on Lakes Sem- 
pach, Morat, Mooscdorf, and Pfefifikon. In fact, more than 
two hundred lake stations are now known in Switzerland; and 
how many more may have completeh' disappeared? 

There'is really nothing to surprise us in the fact of build- 

ings over the water, as it is the safest place, especially for 
people who dwell in the midst of forests where wild animals are 
numerous, and where unseen foes may be constantly lurking. 

The peculiarity of pile-dwellings is that they are made of 
wood, and yet many of them belong to the Stone Age. It is 
remarkable that wooden structures which were erected during 
this age should have been preserved so perfectly that archae- 
ologist have been able to reconstruct them, and to decide as 
to their shape, the manner in which they were buiU., their dis- 
tance from shore, and the class of people who occupied them. 
This is owing largely to the fact that the pile-dwellings of 
Switzerland were buried under deep layers of mud, and so 
were kept from the destroying influence of the elements. It 
is well known that wood, when buried under soil and away 
from atmosphere, may remain for many ages and its fiber and 
character may be easily determined by the geologists and 

Along with the wooden piles, many remains of fruit, grain, 
and woven garments, as well as stone and copper relics, were 
discovered in the mud in a fair degree of preservation. These 
have furnished a view of the domestic life and social condition 
of the people who dwelt in the interior of the continent of 
Europe in prehistoric times, and have thrown much light 
upon their mechanical skill and their art and architecture. 

The mounds, cists and stone chambers when opened con- 
tain the remains of bodies and relics which had been used, but 
the remains of the Lake Dwellings have furnished a view of 
the people as they were when alive, and it is easy to draw a 
picture of their social condition and to imagine their mode of 

The Lake Dwellings of Switzerland may be assigned to 
three different periods. The first is marked by rude stone relics, 
coarse pottery and no ornamentation; the second, by hatchets, 
made of nephrite or jade, and a few copper relics; the pot- 
tery is finely ornamented, and has projecting handles. The 
third was marked by copper weapons and tools, stone ham- 
mers and hatchets carefully pierced, beads, necklaces, pend- 
ants, buttons, needles and horn combs, vases provided with 
handles and covered with ornaments. The distance from the 
shore of the ancient Lake Dwellings varied from 131 to 198 feet, 
the more recent, from 656 to 984 feet. Some of the pile dwel- 
lings were held by piles driven into the mud, others by piles 
which were kept in position by blocks of stone, called pack- 
werbauten, and by the Germans, steinbergen. The number of 
piles is very great, varying from 40,000 at Wangen to 100,000 
at Robenhausen. The area occupied by the station varies 
from 1,200 to 21,000 square feet. The houses on the platforms 
were made of wattle and luirdlework. and sometimes of piles 
split in half, and the floors were of the same material and 
divided by thick layers of clay. These houses are the earli- 

est specimens of house architecture that have been found in 

It has, however, been shown by recent discoveries that a 
similar mode of life prevailed in many parts of the globe in 
prehistoric times, and survived into the historic days. 

The point which interests us at the present time, is the 
distribution of the pile-dwellings. They were known in early 
historic times as situated in the midst of the forests of Europe, 
and as marking the different stages of growth through which 
society passed in that region. Latterly, however, it has been 
noticed that similar structures still occupied, are scattered 
along the shores of the different continents and near the 
islands of the Pacifie, though few have yet been found on the 
western coasts of America. 

This custom of erecting houses above the water was not 
confined to Europe or Asia, or the prehistoric age, for there 

are many islands scattered over the 
South Pacific, near which houses are 
are still to be seen built above the 
water, specimens of which may be 
seen in the cuts. This custom be- 
came so common, that many of the 
houses on the islands themselves 
were built on high posts. This cus- 
tom prevails at the present time in 
the Philippines, in Borneo, and 
elsewhere. The reason for it is 
that it protects from floods and 
from reptiles. It is probable that 
it came originally from the Malay 
habit of erecting buildings over 
the water. In the olden time it 
was the custom when the first post 
was set in the ground to sacrifice a 
slave and place the body below the post, a custom which seems 
to have spread as far as to the Northwest coast of America. 

The different cuts illustrate the manner of constructing 
houses upon land, with posts below designed to support them, 
the platforms and floors being raised above the surface of the 
earth, very much as the platforms were placed above the sur- 
face of the water. Such dwellings, however, are found in 
tropical regions where vegetation grows rank, and where 
venemous reptiles are numerous. 

In these tropical regions the natives are very fond of the 
water and always feel safe, even when propelling their frail 
vessels far away from the land. They have invented outrig- 
gers and other contrivances to keep their boats from upsetting, 
The crannogs of Scotland and Ireland have sometimes 
been classed with the Lake Dwellings, though they are 
really artificial islands, which are connected with the land by 






regular paved way formed oi pebbles which were interlaced 
with branches, led up to a hearth made of flat stones 
measuring some three feet every way. With chis house a 
quartz wedge and a stone chisel showing signs of service were 
found. Another hut, with an oak floor rested on four posts 
beneath a deposit of peat, twenty feet thick.* 

A modified form of Lake dwellings has been found off 
the coast of Florida. These have been referred to under the 
head of shell mounds, but we describe them under the head 
of Lake dwellings. They are really island villages or marine 
structures. One such village was found on the Florida keys and 
described by Mr. F. H. Gushing. It consisted of a series of 
earthwalls built around the edge of the island, which walls 
were protected by an immense number of conch shells. Within 
the wall are a number of lagoons. In the midst of the lagoons 
are platform mounds, arranged in terraces with graded ways 
built on the sides in such a manner that people might pass 
from their houses to their boats without being disturbed by the 
the waves of the sea. 

Mr. Gushing says: 

Here, at least, had been a water court, round the margains of which 
houses rather than landings had clustered, a veritable haven of ancient 
pile dwellings, safe alike from tidal wave and hurricane, within these gi- 
gantic rampaits of shell, where through the channel gateways to the sea, 
canoes might readily come and go. 

In places off to the side on either bank were still more of 
the platforms rising terrace-like but very irregularly, from the 
enclosures below to the foundations of great level-topped 
mounds, which like worn-out, elongated and truncated py- 
ramids loftily and imposingly crown the whole some of them 
to a height of nearly thirty feet above the encircling sea. The 
ascents to the mounds are like the ridges'below, built up wholly 
of shells — great conch shells chiefly— blackened by exposure 
for ages.f 

III. TheGhambered tombs form an interesting class of monu- 
ments. These are very numerous in Europe, but they are 
found in various parts of the world. The peculiarity of these 
tombs is that they were erected for burial purposes, but gen- 
erally had an open chamber constructed of stone which was 
connected with the outside of the mound, by a narrow passage, 
which was left open and would admit of the passage of bodies 
into the chamber after the tumulus was erected. I'he majority 
of these tumuli have been referred to the Stone Age, though 

* Some of the Lake dwellings were constructed on masses of wood consisting of five or six 
platforms with brush and tree-tops, called Fascines. They were really a lattice of trees and 
brusn. 'I'he lloor consisted of layers, of fagots and sticks laid parallel to each other, the spaces 
filled with clay and rushes. As in all the Lake dwellings, the space between the posts, three or 
four feet wide, was filled with wattlework and then coated with clay. 'I he roof was formed of 
layers of straw and rush. Lhe dwellings were rectangular, and were on the average, twelve 
feet broad, and twenty feet long. liach cottage had its own special appliances, a hearth, a 
millstone, sharpening stones, a loom for weaving te.vtile fabrics. Apple cores and cloth were 
found at Wangen. The huts which were erected by the southern Mound-builders resemble the 
Lake dwellings in many particulars. 

t For further description see my work on the " Beginnings of Architecture," p. loz. 


some of them belong to the Bronze Age. The feature which 
distinguishes the two is that the bodies which were buried in 
the Stone Age, were accompanied with weapons, implements, 
and ornaments of stone, bone and amber; those of the Bronze 
Age, * " with a variety of splendid weapons, implements, and 
jewels of bronze, and sometimes even jewels of gold." 

The tumuli of the Stone Age were frequently surrounded 
by circles of stone which enclosed them very much as a fence 
with a modern grave, making them sacred. These circles are 
very common throughout Great Britain and are sometimes 
mistaken for the larger circles which were designed for as- 
sembly places and for religious ceremonies. 

Joseph Anderson says: 

The circle of erect stones which marks off the grave ground from the 
surrounding area, are memorials of moral significance, whether they be re- 
garded as the marks of filial piety and family affection, or of more public 
sympathy and appreciation of worth. They are stone settings and are con- 
nected with sepulchres or graves just as were the groups and rows of stand- 
in? stones. The variations m the form or arrangement of stone settings 
are not accompanied by corresponding variations in the burial customs. 
The overground features were variable, but the underground phenomena 
were persistent. In all the instances, the circle of stone settings, whatever 
may be the precise form which it assumes, has been found to be the ex- 
ternal sign by which the burial ground is distinguished from the surround- 
ing area. Like the cairn, it is the visible mark of the spot of earth to 
which the remains of the dead have been consigned.! 

An interesting thought connected with all these chambered 
tombs is that they resemble the huts which are still occupied 
by the Esquimaux, and are supposed to have originated with 
a people who were not unlike the Esquimaux in their habits 
of living and modes of constructing their houses. Confirma- 
tory of this is the fact that the chambered tombs are found in 
the north Europe, where the climate is cold and where the 
houses of the living are still placed partly beneath the soil, 
and in some cases, are covered with sod, and have a passage- 
way similar to those of the tombs. This habit of making the 
home of the dead imitative of the home of the living, is very 
common. It extends so far that the bodies are placed in a 
sitting posture against the sides of the chamber. Vessels con- 
taining food are placed beside them, along with weapons and 
ornaments which were used during life, and sometimes the 
symbols of their religion are inscribed upon the sides of the 
tomb. It was a custom with these northern people, to build 
their houses in circular shape, and place the sleeping apart- 
ments on the outer edge of the circle, the open space in the 
centre being left for the families together, the fire always being 
placed in the center, with the smoke esacping through the 
roof. The rooms were naturally dark, but the door was always 
placed on the southeast side. The explanation of this is as fol- 
lows: In northern regions the light would dwindle early 

•Worsaae's Primeval Antiquities, p. 93. 

fSee " Scotland in Pagan Times," p. 97. Joseph Anderson. 


in the afternoon and tarry late in the morning. It was 
important then that the door should be in the direction of 
the sun so that the light should shine into the room; if it did 
not awaken the inmates, it would shorten their night and make 
it easier for them to begin their work earlier in the day. It is 
an important fact that the chambered tombs were made in 
imitation of these primitive houses, the bodies bemg placed in 
circles, the passage way being to the southeast. 


Chambered tombs are, hovvever, scattered over the globe, 
in Russia, in America, in China, and Japan, as well as the vari- 
ous parts of Europe. Different names are given to these 
tombs: In Russia, they are called kurgans; in Japan, pit 
dwellings; in America, simple mounds, without distinguishing 
them from other tumuli or burial mounds. Most of these are 
derived from the habit, which is common in the northern 
countries, of placing the house below the surface and building 
the walls and roof of timber, covering the whole with layers of 
earth, as the manner of placing the dead in the chambers of 
the tombs plainly shows. 

Subterranean dwellings made of rough stones laid down in 
regular courses with the walls converging toward the center, 
covered with earth are common in 
Ireland. They are called Picts' 
houses. These sometimes con- 
tain several rooms. They furn- 
ish a ver)' early type of the stone 
house; they differ from all the 
other structures, in that they are 
made of stone. 

IV. Chambered cairns are to be"-;;^^^ 
considered in connection with "'-^^^•r-SL^-jfi ^7.:.y^ — 
the chambered mounds or bee-hive hut 

tumuli. These belong to the 

Stone Age, whether found in Europe, or America, or else- 
where. Joseph Anderson has described those of Scotland. 
Some of these cairns are in the shape of boats, others in the 
form of animals with horn-like projections at either end; still 
others are in the shape which resembles the banner stones or 
maces which are common in America and are symbolical in 
their character; others are mere hemispherical heaps of stone, 
containing chambers within them, but always with a passage 
way from the surface to the chamber. They are distinguished 
from all varieties of sepulchral constructions by this charact- 


~-=^A^-- -_ 


eristic; the compartments within the cairn have a bee-hive 
roof, making them resemble the so-called bee-hi\e huts. 

These cairns are peculiar to Scotland, though chambered 
mounds which contain an internal construction of stones laid 
up in regular shape, resembling a house with a flat roof, are 
common in Denmark and Sweden. There is a cairn near the 
great stone circle of Stennis, on the Orkneys, which contains 
a central chamber about fifteen feet square, to which access is 
provided by a passage fifty-four feet in length. The stones 
of which the chamber is built, are undressed slabs and blocks 
of a hard close-grained stone common in the region, the 
natural shape of the stone enabling the builders to fit them 

close together, and 
to build walls of as 
nearly smooth and 
\-ertical surfaces as 
if they had been 
hewn. The walls of 
the chamber are cov- 
ered with Runic in- 
scriptions which 
would seem to iden- 
tify ihem with the 
historic age, but Mr. 
Anderson maintains 
that "all the chamb- 
ered cairns of the 
northwestern area of 
Europe appear to 

belong to the Stone 


' The best known 
of these is the 
chambered mound 
of Maishowe. Ex- 
ternally it has not 
the appearance of a cairn, but of a mound, 92 feet in diameter, 
and 36 feet in height, surrounded by a trench 40 feet wide, 
and still in some parts, about 8 feet deep." The mound coxers 
an internal chamber 15 feet square. The doorway is built up 
with a pier and lintel, the roof or ceiling is vaulted, but it has 
the essential characteristics of other chambered cairns. 

Covered Avenues are often found in connection with other 
monuments. These subterranean galleries are sometimes 30 
feet long, and their height increasing from three to nine feet. A 
tumulus in Finisterre has two a\enues running parallel with 
each other. In Sweden such avenues form communications 

•Scotland in Pagan Times, p. 280. Joseph Anderson. 

Many of the chambered cairns have been ascribed tn the Bronze Age The chamber re- 
presented in the cut seems to belongs to the Iron Age, as it has various Runic lines on 
its walls, though Prof. Anderson assigns it to the Stone Age. 





between several dolmens. Subterranean chambers are very 
common near Paris; some of them coxered with mounds, A 
covered avenue near Antequerra, Spain, is very remarkable. 
Twenty slabs form the walls fi\e large blocks, the roof, and these 
pillars ate set upright inside the chamber being reached by a 
passage ending in a small stone cist gallery to support the roof. 
y. The most interesting of all the monuments of the Stone 
Age are those to which the expressive name of Dolmen is 
gixen. The dolmens are very widely scattered, a large number 
of them being found in North Europe, Great Britain, Scand- 
inavia, others 
being scattered 
along the north 
coast of Africa, 
the west coast 
of Asia Minor, 
the coast of In- 
dia, the east 
coast of Asia, as 
far north as Ja- 
pan and China; 
also in various 

islands of the Pacific Ocean, and various parts of South 
America. These dolmens resemble one another in so many 
respects as to suggest that they were erected by the same 
people. By what people is unknown. This may be said, how- 
ever, of them that if the dolmens of pAirope are to be ascribed 
to the Aryan race, it would seem to be a natural conclusion 
that those of Japan and Peru also belong to the same race, for 
they are very similar 
in their character, and 
are .'•imilarly situated 
in their relation to the 
seas. There is, to be 
sure, no proof that the 
Aryan race ever reach- 
ed the American con- 
tinent. The manner of 
constructing the dol- 
mens \ aried according 
to the age and country 
to which they belonged. The P:ast Indian dolmens are 
said to be identical with those of Western Europe, while 
those that are found in Scandinavia are of a different char- 
acter. In Scandinavia the supports are erratic blocks: 
in India fragments of the rocks in the neighborhood. At 
Orrys Grave in the Isle of IMan, two large stones are so 
placed as to leave a circular space which was evidently in- 
tended for burial. A dolmen in Great Britain called Kits 
Cotty House is made of two massive slabs with an open space 



between them and a heavy slab at the top for a roof. The 
Danish dolmen was made with four t^^reat boulders which sup- 
ported another boulder or massi\ e ruck, which formed a roof. 
Such dolmens were frequently placed within a stone circle, 
the circle forming a sort of ring fence which made the burial 
place in a manner sacred. 

In the south of France, we see nothing but rectangulai 
apartments, comprised of four or five colossal stones. The 
dolmens of Brittany ha\e sepulchral chambers with long pas- 
sages leading to tliem. Those in the neighborhood of Paris 
have wide covered avenues with a very short entrance lobb)'. 
The dolmens in Peru resemble those in India and the north of 

P'rance, as they 
contain rectan- 
gular compart- 
ments, and have 
over them roofs 
formed of 
slabs arranged 
in terraces. 

The distribu- 
tion of Dolmens 
seems to be 
independent of 
DOLMEN IN PERU. the course of 

large rivers, though they are often placed in sight of 
the sea. In France they are a.-^sociated with alignments of 
standing stones. In Great Britain, there are alignments 
remote and separate from the dolmens. In Moab, south 
of Syria, there are many dolmens and many alignments which 
lead to cromlechs or circles of standing stones. In Japan, 
there are dolmens which contain massive stone coffins. In 
Russia there are knrgans or tombs surmounted by upright 
stones, and square chambers beneath massive mounds. In 
Algeria, the dolmens are surrounded by a double or triple 
circle of monoliths. The appearance of the dolmens in Peru 
which so much resemble those in India brings up a very in- 
teresting question as to who were the builders of the stone 
monuments. Here the dolmens are isolated and have no align- 
ments or standing stones connected with them. 




The monuments of the stone age, which are found in Europe 
and America, are to engage our attention in this paper. These 
monuments are interestinjsr, as they show how the stone age 
was first recognized and how it came to be established, and at 
the same time show how the two continents are marked by the 
tokens of the prehistoric races. It is remarkable that the stone 
age was known so much earlier in Europe than in America, and 
yet the resemblances between the two continents have only 
confirmed the conclusions before reached, and thrown new 
light on discoveries before made. The monuments of Europe 
may be said to have furnished the elements of the science, but 
those of America have filled up with the details. The date 
of the disappearance of the age was here much later than 
there, and yet the tokens of the two continents have constituted 
a series which is most interesting in its nature. We propose to 
take up the monuments of the stone age, and from these show 
how important is the history of that age in America. 

I. Let us first examine the monuments with a view of ascer- 
taining more about the distinction of the three ages. It is a 
remarkable fact that this arose from the study of the monu- 
ments, though it was soon confirmed by the study of the relics, 
and latterlv the relics have proved to be the most important 
factors. Various attempts to overthrow the distmction into 
ages have been made, but so far have been unsuccessful. The 
history of archaeology is interesting on this account. Nearly 
every leading principle which has once been recognized has 
remained and become permanent. The foundations of the 
science are not varying and uncertain, but are well established. 

It was as early as 1756 that a remarkable work appeared in 
Paris, written by Goguet, on the origin of law. In the preface 
the author says: "When I met with an almost total absence o 
facts in historical monuments, for the first ages, I consulted what 
authors tell us of the customs of savage nations. I thought 
that the habits of those people would furnish sure and correct 
information concerning the state of the first tribes." He then 
goes on to speak of the weapons, instruments and ornaments 
of copper met in certain old graves, chiefly m the north, and 
comes to the conclusion that copper had been used instead of 
iron. Later M. De Caumont perceived that stone implements 
had been in the earliest use, but that copper and bronze had 


been introduced before iron. He introduced the expression 
"chfonological horizons" to indicate the periods in the history 
of art remarkable for their revolutions, or for notable changes 
in the forms and character of the monuments. He pointed out 
the following order of succession in the mode of burial: ''In the 
most ancient graves the body of the deceased was doubled up 
so as to bring the knees in contact with the chin. Later, during 
the bronze age, the dead were usually burned; during the iron 
age the body was often laid in the grave stretched at full length." 

These thoughts came from the study of Roman remains, and 
were given in lectures on monumental antiquities, it was re- 
served to the Scandinavians to open the proper track. Denmark 
and Sweden teem with antiquities. The ground is strewed with 
ancient barrows, which are raised like hillocks above the sur- 
rounding level. Roman civilization had not penetrated so far. 
It was an event of note when Mr. Thompson, a simple merchant 
who was engaged in collecting china, in 1832 published a paper 
on the antiquities of stone, showing that these objects had been 
tools and weapons of a people very like the modern savages. 
He shows that certain sepulchral chambers formed of huge 
boulders, in which the dead were deposited without being 
burned, contained stone implements without any traces of metal. 
This furnished him with his first period, which he calls the 
stone age. He then goes on to show that implements and 
weapons of bronze are found in certain graves which differ 
from those of the preceding period, both by their structure and 
by their dead having been burned. Hence he deduces a second 
period, which he calls a bronze age. Next comes the iron age, 
distinguished by a new system of burial, by the first appearance 
of silver, by the traces of alphabetic inscriptions, and by a pecu- 
liar style of ornament. 

Professor W. F. Nilsson, of the University of Lund, was then 
engaged in studying the fauna of Scandinavia, but he introduced 
the study of man and his origin. He applies the method, com- 
pares the flint inplements of the north with those of savages, 
points out the striking analogy between the most ancient graves 
in Sweden and the modern huts of the Greenlanders, with a 
view to prove that the abodes of the dead were imitated from 
the dwellings of the living. This introduced the topic, "The 
Successive Periods of Development," during the prehistoric 
ages. He, however, reaches the conclusion that each of the 
periods was marked by the invasion of a new race, by a fresh 
wave of population, inasmuch as there was an essential change 
in the mode of burial and a profound change in the religious 
system. The development was not altogether natural and 
unaided, but was the result of migrations. Thus the primary 
divisions of the prehistoric period became established. 

The order of progress and the law of social development were 
recognized by the comparison of the structures and relics which 


were left by prehistoric races with thoseof the ruder uncivilized 
races known to history, a comparison which might be drawn in 
America much more easily than in Scandinavia or in any por- 
tion of Europe. 

Thus it was from the study of the monuments that the divi- 
sion of the prehistoric period into three ages occurred. This 
division was first made by the Scandinavians, but was confirmed 
by English archaeologists and has been adopted by all. It is a 
division which is recognized in all countries, even in America 
Here the iron age is, to be sure, very distinct from the two 
preceding ages, as it was introduced by the white settlers after 
the time of the discovery. But there is an advantage in this, 
for the presence of iron is always a sure indication that the 
tokens belong to the historic rather than the prehistoric period. 
The real division in America is into the bronze age, the polished 
stone age and the rude stone age, leaving out all consideration 
of iron. The monuments, however, belong mainly to the stone 
age as such — that is, the polished stone age, and may be re- 
garded as distinctive of the age. 

It was, on the contrary, characteristic of the paleolithic age 
that there were no monuments in it, at least no monuments 
which have been perpetuated. There may indeed have beert 
habitations in that age, but they were either such abodes as- 
could be furnished by caves or were the mere brush heaps re- 
sembling those erected in our day by the California Indians, the 
rudest of all structures. Some have, indeed, claimed that the 
huts of the Eskimos properly represent the paleolithic abodes, 
but this is uncertain. It is possible that they were ice huts, but 
if so they were very perishable. • 

This was, probably, during the preglacial period, a period 
when man may have been without the use of fire, and so ex- 
ceedingly rude as to be unable to erect any structure which 
would be worthy the name of monument. We are safe in 
saymg that there were no structures in that age which became 
monuments. It is, then, to the neolithic age that the majority 
of the monuments in America belong. These may, indeed, 
have been left by an uncivilized race, ana probably were 
erected subsequent to the glacial period, but they are scattered 
over the continent in every part of it. Geographically consid- 
sidered, we may assign the most of them to the temperate 
zone, placing the monuments of the bronze age in the torrid 
zone and those which resemble the works of the paleolithic age 
in the arctic zone, and yet the geographical is not the division 
which is so distinctive as is the chronological and the geolog- 
ical, the paleolithic age having belonged to a horizon lower 
down and farther back than the neolithic, the bronze age 
having furnished the best and the latest monuments. This 
age appeared among the civilized races of the Southwest, 
in Central America and Peru, but it was by no means spread 


over the continent, as it was over Europe. The bronze age 
appeared in America very much as it appeared in Chaldea and 
the regions of the East. It was in connection with an archi- 
tecture of a somewhat advanced type that it appeared, an 
architecture in which the corbel'ed arch, the staged tower (the 
zikkurat), the pyramid with its terraces, the palace with its 
seragUo (that is, the salon for official receptions), the khan or 
the dependencies of the palace, the kitchens and slave lodgings, 
were the chief elements; a style of architecture which was far 
in advance ot anything which was found in Europe during the 
prehistoric times. It might have naturally been expected that 
bronze would have appeared among the Mound-builders or the 
Pueblos, for these occupy about the same position in the scale 
of progress that the lake-dwellers in Europe do. But there 
was lacking here the aid of a civilization which was near and 
which could by migration, or by transmitted influence, effect 
the art and architectuje ot the people. Copper was used by 
the Mound-builders, but bronze was unknown. 

The isolation of the continent prevented the bronze age from 
being introduced among the Mound-builders. It was evidently 
introduced among the lake-dwellers of Europe by migration. 
The migrations in America worked an opposite effect. Instead 
of bringing a wave of civilization and progress, it brought in a 
wave of savagery and produced a decline. The earliest monu- 
ments were the most elaborate and show the highest stage of 
civilization. This is the case in all parts of the continent. The 
mound-builders of the early period were more advanced than 
the Indian tribes who followed them. The Pueblos and cliff- 
dwelle'rs were a semi-civilized people, but the tribes which drove 
them away were savages, hunters who had come in from the 
regions of the North. The civilized races made progress, but 
those who followed them were savages, and were surprisingly 

The absence of the bronze from the cliff-dwellings was owing 
to their distance from civilized and historic countries, for bronze 
even in Europe was a product of civilization and really belongs 
to the historic period, though it was introduced, like domestic 
animals, among the uncivilized races, and prevailed in great 
quantities in prehistoric times. 

This subject of migration is an interesting one. iWorsaat 
says of the stone age in the North: "What people it was that 
showed the road to the more highly developed races is just as 
unknown as the time of their arrival." Of the later stone age 
he says: "The period was long, the new culture alien, and its 
dissemination gradual. That the stone age culture was able to 
reach such a pitch in the North can not be explained solely by 
its longer duration, or by the richness and excellence of material 
for ftint work. In reference to the rise and spread of the bronze 
age, the facts point more and more toward the ancient culture 


lands in Asia, and to India in particular, with it ■ rich veins of 
copper and tin, as the most probable &tarting place ior the 
bronze culture." Prof. Worsaae recognized a North Asiatic 
age of bronze, but thinks that this can not be regarded as the 
starling point tor the bronze culture which appeared in Scan- 
dinavia and the rest of Europe. The bronze age in the south- 
east of Europe was originally introduced by immigration, but 
it flowed into Europe bv two main routes, ^'he southern 
followed the coast lands, Greece and Italv, Africa, Spain, France 
and the British Isles; the other followed the basin of the Dan- 
ube into the heart of Europe, taking Hungary, Switzerland 
and Germany in its course, and from Germany to Scandinavia. 
The age of stone preceded the bronze, as whole skeletons with 
stone age objects are buried at the basement of the graves, 
while in the sides and summit are burnt bodies with objects ot 

As to the migration of the American races we have no real 
information. That it came mainly by way of Behring Strait is 
only an inference, it has not been proved. In fact, in later years, 
the drift of opinion has been in favor of another route, or, per- 
haps, several routes, Behring Straits being one, Labrador, 
Greenland and Iceland another, the roast of Florida and West 
Indies another, Mexico and the Polynesian Islands still another. 
There are some who take the ground that there was no immi- 
fifralion ; the races were all autochthonous. Hellwald says : "The 
procession of migratory races was in the long axis of the con- 
tinent, from north to south. The migrating tribes always 
tended towards southerly regions. That America was already 
inhabited before this great migration, and in many parts was 
possessed of an ancient civilization, admits of no doubt. If we 
compare it with that of the present Indians of America, the 
original culture was much more advanced The question might 
arise whether tribes in a state of civilization w ere the first im- 
migrants, or were the existing races in a lower grade because 
they had declined from a former civilized condition. The theory 
of a civilizing migration seems to be opposed by most writers; 
at least it is denied that civilization was introduced simultane- 
ously with migration, though it is acknowledged by many that 
the germs of civilization may have been carried with the migra- 
tory tribes." The populations of the copper age of America, 
which had already dawned in the region of the lakes, may have 
followed the valleys of the Ohio and Mississippi, and directed 
their steps to the present States of Louisiana and Texas. Still 
this wide region of the Mississippi Valley, the proper home of 
the Mound builders, preserved no trace of immigration or 
emigration. The shifting of place among the tribes is manifest, 
but no long line of migration. The Asiatic hordes moved 
slowly during the early periods of history. It may be that the 
stream, set in motion, may have ultimately reached this conti- 


nent, and poured itself from the north over the region which 
had been previously occupied by another race. This would 
account for the decline, and for the super-position of the skele- 
tons and the strata of relics being in the reverse order. 

II. The distinction between the paleolithic and neolithic age 
is to be recognized in America. Let us, then, take up 
this distinction as the especial object of our study. The 
paleolithic age found man at the outset a mere homeless, house- 
less savage, scarcel}' above the condition of the beast. He dwelt 
in caves, protected himself with a rude booth or found shelter 
near a rock or tree, and possibly dug a hole in the ground, and 
burrowed there. But nothing that was worth}' the name of 
structure or monument was erected by him. He did not even 
lift up a stone which would serve as a monument, nor did he 
place a mound upon the surface, so that there are no monuments 
o( him. Later in the paleolithic age he resorted to caves, and 
there left the traces of his presence in relics of various kinds. 
He seems to have been acquainted with fire, and had some skill 
in drawing pictures upon bone and rock. The latest stage was 
that in which he erected a hut by the sea coast, and threw out 
the bones and shells which accumulated around the hut, leaving 
rings in the heap to show the place of his habitation; this is the 
nearest approach to architecture which the paleolithic man 
reached. The neolithic age introduced a new epoch. There 
was a great change, both in the condition of man and in his sur- 
roundings. It would seem almost as it the change was one of 
climate and of natural environments. Certainly, so far as the 
animals are concerned, there was a great contrast. The bones 
of the extinct animals, such as the mastodon, the cave bear, the 
rhinoceros and the elephant, are never found associated with the 
neolithic relics. On the other hand, the neolithic structures, 
such as dolmens, menhirs, stone graves, hut rings, lodge circles, 
must have been built by a race very different from the paleo- 
lithic man. He was undoubtly a wild hunter, who was clad in 
skins, with the hair side out, and who was shaggy in his ap- 
pearance; he may have contended with the mastodon and the 
cave bear, and he had only the rude spearhead, which belongs 
to the paleolithic type, for his weapon. When, however, these 
animals disappeared, he either disappeared himself, or else 
changed his habits in almost every particular. It vvould seem 
as if a new race had been constructed, for the whole horizon has 
changed. There are now habitations which are placed upon 
the surface of the earth, and within those habitations are tools, 
utensils and weapons, which are as different as the surround- 
ings. This change was probably brought on b}- a variety of 
causes. Everything is correlated in the prehistoric world. Man 
may have been either a hunter or fisherman ; he may have 
dwelt upon the sea coast or in the interior; he ma}^ have inhab- 
ited either of the continents; yet when he moved from the cave 


to'the constructed house, he came into a new social condition. 
The date is not known, but the change is easily recognized. 
There is a new phase of social life, and everything partook of 
it. The skill of man was exercised not onl}- upon his architec- 
ture, but in the department of art, the habitation and the tools 
changing about the same time. We cannot say which was 
first, though judging from the ease with which savages take up 
the use of new weapons and tools which have been introduced 
by the more civilized race, we should say that the change from 
the paleolithic to the neolithic relics must have been anterior to 
that of the change from the cave to the constructed hut. The 
gradual progress might have produced an improvement in axes 
and adzes before they were used in cutting down trees or goug- 
ing out canoes. But we imagine that necessity was in this case 
the mother of invention. Domestic utensils probabl}' came into 
use about the same time that cooking over the fire was prac- 
ticed, and so we infer that pottery was introduced about the 
same time tha hut began to be built. The garments also 
changed when the change in habitations and tools had occurred. 
The discovery of bone needles and awls and stone drills and 
knives, as well as the presence of perforated tablets and other 
ornaments of dress, would indicate this. The change from 
the cave to the hut involved a new method of defense. We 
accordingly find weapons of a different kind, spearheads, ar- 
rows, dirks, knives, showing that the warrior was well equipped. 
We do not know as there was any fortification erected at this 
time, for there are savages in America who found their 
safety in flight, and who rarely undertook to build a fortifica- 
tion. Still we regard it as characteristic of the neolithic age 
that man was then able to provide means of defense for himself; 
there was also a change in the religious condition of the 
people. It is said that during the paleolithic age there was 
much skill in depicting the animals, as in imitating their shapes, 
but the symbolic figures which would make animal totems are 
very rare. In the neolithic age there is a great abundance of 
totems. Nearly all of the animal figures which are found de- 
picted, inscribed upon bone or carved or moulded, are totemic 
in their character and ma}' be regarded as symbols of the prim- 
itive faith. These are the characteristics of the neolithic age. 
They are characteristics which are ffiven by the relics, orna- 
ments, garments, art products, as well as the structures of the 
age. We are, however, only to describe the structures. We 
therefore proceed with the description of these. 

III. This brings us to the monuments of the stone age in 

The division of the antiquities of America has been made 
on the basis of the material of the relics. It can be, however, 
made on another basis, namely, on the material of the monu- 
ments. We have alreadv elsewhere shown that the monuments 


of America are to be classified according to the geographical 
location, those of the norih being mainly of perishable material, 
wood, ice, bone, bark. As a result we find very lew prehistoric 
structures here. Those of the Mississippi valley were constructed 
mainly of earth, though occasionally a few rude stone walls and 
mounds were found among them. Those of the interior, in the 
great plateau of the west, were of stone, unwrought, laid up in 
walls, and of adobe, but with no wrought stone and no lime 
mortar among them. Those of the south were mainly of 
wrought stone, laid in cement, with many carved ornaments and 
sculptured pillars. Thus it appears that the material of the 
structures, as well as the location, furnishes an index to us of 
the grade of culture which prevailed, so that we do not need to 
rely upon the material of the relics. These might be regarded 
as the subdivisions of the stone age, though they would lengthen 
out the stone age, and make it overlap the bronze in one direc- 
tion and the paleolithic or rude stone in the other. This is the 
main point which we make. 

I. We take up first the structures which are presented by 
the kitchen middens and shell heaps. These are supposed to 
have been the earliest and most primitive, the rudest of all. It 
has been, to be sure, a matter of discussion whether the shell 
heaps antedated the burial mounds and sepulchral constructions, 
but on this point most of the archaeologists are now agreed. 
Prof. Worsage and Proi. Steenstrup were appointed to examine 
the shell heaps on the coast of Denmark. They made their 
report. One of them claimed that the shell heaps marked a 
period which preceded that of the dolmens, cromlechs and other 
stone monuments. The other maintained that they were con- 
temporaneous. The same discussion might be carried on at 
the present time in reference to the shell heaps on the coasts of 
North America. It would not be a question whether they be- 
longed to the stone age, but whether they do not mark an early 
part of this age. In reference to some of them there would be 
no dispute, but in reference to others there would be a variety 
of opinion. Sir John Lubbock examined the shell heaps on the 
coast of Denmark. He speaks with the highest praise of both 
gentlemen, but reaches the conclusion that shell heaps or kitchen 
middens represent a definite period in the history of the country 
and are probably referable to the early part of the neolithic 
stone age. He says none of the large polished axes have been 
found in the kitchen middens. The absence of metal indicates 
that they had not yet any weapons except those made of wood, 
stone, horn and bone. Prof. Steenstrup admits that the stone 
implements from shell mounds are ruder than those from the 
tumuli, but the frequent remains of the seal and wild ox, and 
the cuts which are so common in the bones, indicate the use of 
polished implements, and so he regards the shell heaps as mark- 
ing the camping place for fishermen, but belonging to the same 


age as the tumuli. The kitchen middens were not mere summer 
quarters. The ancient fishermen resided on these spots at least 
two thirds of the year. The same is true of the shell heaps in 
this country. There are shell heaps in Florida which cover 
immense tracts, and which reach great heights. They are sit- 
uated along the coast, showing that they were not merely the 
result of the accummulation of debris, but were often built in 
ranges, so as to give protection to the inhabitants from high 
tides and at the same time furnish an airy and sightly place for 

The examination of the shell heaps of Florida was first made 
by Prof Wyman, of the Peabody Museum. They have been 
frequently visited since that time. Dr. D. G. Brinton has de- 
scribed those at New Smyrna. He says the turtle mound is 
thirty feet high, and is composed altogether of separate oyster 
shells. A remarkable mound on Crystal River is in the shape 
of a truncated cone, for y feet in height, the summit thirty feet 
in diameter, the sides nearly perpendicular. The great size of 
some of these accumulations may furnish some conception of the 
length of time required for their gradual accretion. The one 
at the mouth of the Altamaha River covers ten acres of ground, 
and contains about 80,000 cubic yards. Mr. S. T. Walker has 
described those on Tampa Bay; he says they extend along the 
shore for several hundred feet, and are from fifteen to twenty 
feet in height. Here the archaeologist may read the history of 
the people, as the geologist reads the history of the earth in the 
sections presented. The peculiarily of these shell heaps is that 
human bones are found in them, while very few bones are found 
in the kitchen middens of Denmark. 

Canals have been found in these shell heaps, giving an indi- 
cation that the people who built them navigated the sea coast, 
and then crossed the narrow neck of land which separated the 
coast from the river. It is supposed, also, that there were land- 
ing places for canoes, and that the shell heaps were raised above 
the surface, both for the sake of safety and comfort. We give 
cuts of some of these shell mounds. One of them has a road- 
way running from the level to the summit. See Fig. i. The 
dimensions of this mound are as follows: It was about five feet 
high; entire length one hundred and fifty feet; breadth seven- 
ty-five feet; the roadway is twenty feet wide; there is a ditch 
or excavation at one end which enters the mound. A roadway 
was traced from the mound into a hummock several hundred 
yards. Another mound, twelve hundred feet long and twenty 
feet high, has a beautiful inclined road up its west side. The 
turtle-shaped mound is the most remarkable. It is about five 
feel high, and is surrounded by ditches; lengttiwise of the 
ditches are walls left at the natural level of the land, which 
correspond to the flippers of the turtle. The head and tail are 
projections from the mound itself. The entire length of the 


body is one hundred and eight feet, the width sixty-six feer. It 
is remarkable that carved rehcs resembhnjr this mound in shape 
have been found in the shell heaps of Florida.* 

These observations confirm what we have said about the 
characteristics of the neolithic age. They show that totemism 
or symbolism prevailed extensively The shell heaps of the 
California coast differ from these. These contain extensive 
graves. It is supposed that ihay were temporary residences, as 
layers of sand recur at short intervals, as ifthey were visited at 
stated seasons. Still, there are traces of aboriginal settlements, 
since the graves are numerous and many skeletons have been 
exhumed. Many relics, also, have been taken out — beautiful 
serpentine pipes, spear-heads of obsidian, a bronze cup filled 
with red paint, mortars of various kinds, shell ornaments, mica 
pots, ear ornaments, beads, lance-heads, etc. The shell heaps 
of the northwest coast were much ruder than these. These, 
however, contained some remarkable relics, showing that they 
were of modern origin. Prof. E. L. Morse says: "That these de- 
posits are not all of the same age is certain. It can be safely 
assumed that they were made long before the advent of the 
European, for the natives were then living in the shell age, and 
were forming depositories of shell in the same way. These 
depositories have been described as occurring in England, 
Scotland, Ireland, France, east and west coast of the United 
States, Australia, Tasmania and the Malay archipelrgo, show- 
ing that the stone age prevailed extensivel}' over the globe. The 
hut rings which are found in the mounds of Florida, and the 
artificial shapes of the mounds themselves, bring them under 
the department of architecture; but the rude relics and animal 
remains found in the shell heaps of Scandinavia, Japan, as well 
as of the northwest coast, show that some of them are to be 
treated under the most primitive department of archaeology." 

Kitchen middens are sometimes classed with the paleolithic 
and sometimes with the neolithic age. This illustrates a 
point.. There was a time when the fishermtn were so ex- 
tremely rude and low in their social condition that they were 
incapable of erecting a structure which required any mechani- 
cal skill. They either dwelt in caves and resorted to the sea 
coast during the summer months, or they made for themselves 
shelters of the rudest kind. We can hardly regard them as equal 

*Shell heaps with bone implements and rude pottery are common in Florida.— 
Wyman, Peabody report, Vol. II. Shell heaps with steatite mortars have been dis- 
oovered in California. One in contra Costa County was more than a mile long.— 
Bancroft, Vol. IV, p.709 Peabody report, 1878, Shellheaps in Oregon. A steatite stone 
quarry with 2000 stone implements and hammers was found in Pennsylvania. The 
Kteatite pots in the shell heaps of California and Oregon^may have been taken from 
the quarry in Santa Catalina Islands, see Peabody report for 1878. Shell heaps with 
wooden hammers have been found in Vancouver's Island. Bancroft Vol. IV p. 737. 
On the coast of Brazil are shell heaps which present evidence of cannibalism.— Na- 
daillac, p. 53. Fresh water shell heaps are common in the valley of the Mississippi, 
Report of A. A. A.'S. 1873. These be distinguishedllrom the ash pits found by 
Prof, Putnam in Ohio, and yet they contain the debris of camps, as do the shell heaps 




lo the house-builders in their condition, for the house-builders 
belonged to the neolithic age.* To have had neolithic weapons 
and tools, and build houses would imply an advanced stage of 
art and architecture. The Eskimos build ice huts which are 
arched, resembling the conical stone huts which are found in 
Ireland, and which belong to the stone age. They also make 
long passages to their huts, which remind us of the passage- 
wavs to the dolmens of France, which are also neolithic struc- 
tures. In winter the Eskimos build huts 
from whale bones and walrus bones, laid 
in tiers, the same as the ice, and placed 
upon a foundation of stone. This shows 
that the Eskimos had very considerable skill 
in the art of constructing houses, a skill 
which probably represents that which was 
exercised by the early neolithic people of 
Europe and of America. Our conclusion 
is that the structures which were erected in 
the midst of the shell heaps were similar to 
these, and that they belonged to the neolithic age, but were 
perhaps the earliest structures of that age. 

2. We now turn to the barrows and mounds which are found 
on this continent, with the design of instituting a comparison 
between them and the so-called barrows of Europe. We place 
them together, for they constitute a second class of monumental 
structures, and illustrate a second division of the new stone age. 
It is remarkable that in the barrows there are so many stone 
chambers which were evidently designed for funereal purposes. 
These chambers are rude specimens of funereal architecture, but 
they show how sacred and important this kind of architecture 
was in the stone age. The mounds of 
America do not often contain chambers 
like these, but, on the other hand, are 
solid throughout, either stratified, with 
layers of sand, earth and stone, or built 
as simple heaps of earth, without strat- 
ification, and sometimes without relics 
or remains. The barrows of Europe 
are supposed to contain the oldest or 
earliest of all funereal structures, and are on this account worth)'- 
of especial study. The architecture of the prehistoric seems in this 
respect to have resembled that of the historic age. The most an- 
cient in each are tombs. This is an interesting fact. Tombs are 
found in the pyramids of Egypt, the earliest of historic monu- 
ments. They are also contained in the barrows of Europe, the 

♦The Callfornians connect a tradition with a shell heap near San Francisco of the 
Hohgates, "seven mythical strangers,] who were the first to build houses. These 
Flrangers were changed to stars, but the shell heaps are left as signs of tlieir former 
ri'Sidence.— Bancroft, N'ol. Ill, p. 177. 



Fig. 6. 

earliest of the prehistoric monuments. There may indeed have 
been structures which were occupied by the living at a time pre- 
ceding these, but as these were built of perishable material they 
soon disappeared. The significance of the megalithic tombs is, 
however, the greater on this account. They are supposed to 
have been built after the pattern of the houses which have per- 
ished, and so show what kind of houses 
were built durmg that age. 

Lubbock says: "No one can compare 
the plan of a Scandinavian passage grave 
to any drawing of an Eskimo snow house 
without being struck with the great simi- 
larity existing between them." Prof. Nils- 
son says that the winter dwellings of the 
Kamskatkans are very similar; that these 
are a copy of the dwelling house. The an- 
cient inhabitants of Scandinavia, unable to 
imagine a future separate from the present, buried the house 
with its owner, and the grave was literally the dwelling of the 
dead. When a great man died he was placed in his favorite 
seat, food and drink were arranged before him, his weapons 
were placed by his side, his house was closed and the door cov- 
ered up, sometimes, however, to be opened again when his wife 
or children joined him in the land of spirits. The entrances or 
doors to dolmens are usually made by omitting one of the up- 
right supports, but is closed by inserting a moveable stone. There 
are dolmens with a different entrance. A hole is cut through 
the door, or closing stone, sometimes round and sometimes 
oval. Sometimes the hole for 
entrance is cut out of the bot- 
tom of the closing stone. Figs. .{»i 
4 and 5. Some dolmens have >^«a 
an entrance cut one half out of 5#^i 

ance like the guillotine, and ''n-I "' " - -— ^- 

so giving the name of guillo- "^"^'••''.li'i. -^ 

tme to the tomb Spp Fio- x-Z'-"*- -^-^ '_•«■ ^^ -, 

Iherearea few dolmens 
which have doors with side '^*^"^' 

posts or piers and lintels, and with the superincumbent stone 
sloping like the roof of a modern house^ See Fig. 7. 

Thomas Wilson says it is usual, if not universal, to find a 
vestibule corridor or covered way leading from the entrance of 
the principal chamber to the circumference of the tumulus. 
Some of these corridors are forty to fifty feet in length. He 
says many of the dolmens are covered with earth. All may 
have been once so covered. The following cuts will illustrate 
the manner in which these dolmens are built. Figs. 8 and 9. 



These dolmens were found in France. The village in sight is 
that of Lochmariaquer ; beyond is the gulf of Mordihan. The 
road from hence to Carnac is lined with monuments of prehis- 
toric times resembling these. There are no such dolmens in 
America. The nearest approach to them is found in the cham- 
bered mounds of Missouri, but these lack the passage-ways or 

A distinction was formerly drawn between the long barrows 
and short barrows, as if they indicated different races and 
periods of time, but this has been done away. The passage 
graves and stone chambers within the mounds may, however, be 
distinguished from the stratified mounds and burials without 
stone cists, a distinction which will apply to the mounds of 
America as well as of Europe. The reason assigned for the 

FUj. 10— Slowicl and Earth Circle near Portsmouth, Ohio. 

construction of passage graves is that there might be a succes- 
sion of burials without a destruction of the tomb. The opening 
to the mouth of the passage would be so near the outside of the 
mound that the stone could be removed and new bodies placed 
within the tomb. 

There is one point which comes up in connection with the 
mounds of America and the barrows of Great Britain. Some 
ofthese were associated with earth circles (Figs. lo and 1 1), show- 
ing that the people who erected the barrows were a military 
or war-like people, and that they erected these as a means of 
defense. In this respect they are supposed to have been one 
degree in advance of the people who dwelt among the kitchen 
middens, who were probably fishermen. The same thought is 
conveyed by the mounds found in the United States. Many of 
these mounds were evidently used as signal stations, showing 
that the people were both hunters and warriors, as the same 
mound would serve for observatories to watch the approach of 



game, and to notice the presence of the enemj'. The earth 
circles in England are attended with standing stones. In this 
country there are no standing stones. The ditch, however, is 
inside the circle as in Europe. It is supposed that the circles 
in both countries were designed for fortifications, though some 
had evidently a religious use. The religious significance of these 
structures is perhaps more important than the military use. It 
is possible that there was a symbolism concealed in the very 
space of a circle, the circle being the symbol of the sun. It is 
possible, also, that the standing stones found in Europe symbol- 
ize serpent worship exactly as certain earth walls and mounds 
symbolize it in this country. Altar mounds are numerous 
in the United States. These show that the religious sentiment 
was a powerful factor in the erection of mounds. There are no 
altar mounds in Europe, but there are many who suppose that 
the dolmens were both altars and burial places, the table-stone 
above the chamber serving for an altar and the chamber serving 
as the burial olace for the dead. 

Fig. 1]. — Mound and Earth Circle in Great Britain. 

There is another thought which arises here. We have noticed 
that the kitchen middens of Europe are much ruder than the 
chambered barrows, and have spoken of the caves as partially 
filling the gap. In America, however, the gap is not so wide 
and is partially filled by the stratified mounds, these mounds be- 
ing of a lower grade of architecture than the chambered barrows 
but of a higher grade than the shell heaps. It was during the 
mound-building period that the so-called copper age appeared. 
This age has not been assigned any definite position, and in fact 
some even deny that there was any such age in America. It 
remains then for those who are studymg the science in America 
to say what that age was. The comparison between the Euro- 
pean and the American mounds helps us to do this. The 
Mound-builders represent the copper age. The Mound-builders 
were both hunters and agriculturists. They erected mounds for 
burial, but they also built earth walls for defense. They evidently 
lived in villages, while they cultivated the land surrounding 
them. They were also house-builders, and at times built coun- 
cil-houses and temples in the midst of their villages. They were 
sun-worshippers, and at times built altars and presented offerings 


to the sun divinity. The use of copper may indeed have been 
only incidental to their life, the abundance of copper being a 
reason why they used it rather than stone, and it also better 
served their purposes. Still we use the term as significant of a 
cult, and place the copper age in the midst of the stone age, 
making the Mound-builders to represent its rank in the column. 
We give a series of cuts to show the resemblance between the 
mounds of America and the barrows of Europe. It will be no- 
ticed that some of the mounds are surrounded by earth circles 
with a ditch inside of the circle. Some have thought these to 
have been symbolic structures — symbols of the sun; others con- 
sider them mere burial places. There are many such mounds in 
the United States. Some of them contain altars, and all have a 
sacred or religious character. We call atttention to the resem- 
blance between these circular enclosures. Was it because sun- 
worship existed that these rings or circles were built, or was 
there some actual contact between the two in the two continents. 
The standing stones of Great Britain are wanting in America; 
but so far as the form of the earth circles and the passage-ways 
to the circles can be said to resemble one another in one 
country, they may also be said to resemble one another in both 
countries. The altar mounds are, to be sure, wanting in Eu- 
rope, and yet if we take the stone tables to have been altars, we 
find the same use for the barrows as for the mounds. They cov- 
ered up and preserved the altars as well as the burying places. 
We here call attention to the circles, at Averbury, in England, 
and the earth circle in Portsmouth, Ohio. We do not say that 
these works were symbolic, and yet the religious use is acknowl- 
edged by all and the resemblances are also striking. 

3, This brings us to the stone structures in Europe and Amer- 
ica. We must treat these briefly. The rude stone monuments 
have been described as if they constituted a very important 
factor in the prehistoric architecture of Europe. The rude stone 
structures are, however, very numerous in America. These are 
more properly ruins than monuments, and yet they belong to 
the same age and represent a similar stage of progress with the 
so-called monuments. We mention the cliff-dwellings and pueb- 
los of the west, as we do the standing stones of France and the 
cromlechs of England, placing them side by side, since they all 
represent the last subdivision of the so-called stone age. De- 
scriptions of these works are found in works on archaeology, and 
yet the resemblances are worthy of our study. The standing 
stones at Carnac, called alignments, have, to be sure, no repre- 
sentativeSjin America, and the Pueblos have none in Europe. 
Yet it may be noticed that the same skill which wrought one 
class was also exhibited in the other, so that a department may 
be erected for both. The uses of the pueblos, with their many 
storied rooms, and with their sacred estufas or sweat houses and 


their plazas or courts are indeed better known than are the 
uses of the standing stones. The uses of the cliff dwellings 
with their retreats in the sides of the rocks, and their lookout 
towers on the tops of the same, are also perhaps better known 
than are the uses of the stone circles of Avebury or Stone Henge. 

Yet with all the mystery which hangs about the European 
monuments, we do not hesitate to class them together. The 
mode of life of the two people was, to be sure, in great contrast, 
since the means of subsistence in one case was gained by irri- 
gation, and in the other by agriculture of the ordinary kind, de- 
fense being secured in very different ways in the two countries, 
yet so far as skill in architecture or general culture and the 
prevalence of a certain religious cult are concerned we should 
place them all on the same level. It is possible, too, that original 
design of the European monuments may yet be learned from 
the study of these American structures, and so we call attention 
to the two as worthy of close attention. We call attention to 
the cuts as illustrating this point. 

We call attention to the cuts, Figs. 12 and 13, These repre- 
sent the circular structures of the two continents; the one, the 
standing stones of Great Britain, the other the ruined towers of 
Colorado and New Mexico. The standing stones were never 
buildings, and yet they may have been places of worship or of 
religious assembly. The towers, however, were once buildings, 
but buildings of a singular kind. They may have been lookout 
towers, but more likely were sweat houses or sacred places of 
assembly where sacred rites were observed. These towers are 
sometimes found on the mesas above the so-called cliff-dwellings 
and sometimes on the bottom land beneath the cliff-dwellings, 
and sometimes isolated and separate from all other structures. 
The significance of the circle in both cases is that sun-worship 
prevailed in both continents. 

Some of the towers have three concentric walls, as in the 
cut; others, however, have only two, but with partitions between 
the walls, dividing the tower into one large central apartment, 
with several cells surrounding this. The standing stones at 
Stone Henge were also surrounded by a circle of earth", with a 
ditch inside of it. They seem to have had a sacred assembly 
place in the center, in the midst of which was the so-called 
altar. This was the penetralia of the place. The analogies of 
the two are, then, very striking, especially when we consider the 
distance which separated them and the difference in the surround- 
ings of the two. The subject is certainly worthy of serious 
study, as they may be expressive of a wide spread cult. 

Fifl. S.—JJohiien of Grtind Island, l-'runc . 

Fi<l. :i.—I>ij'incii of L'M'lLinariaqncr,' France. 

*- '-^'^Di-^^gS 


/^/'.(/ 12.— Circle at Stone Heng". 

^;^€i SCO '3 



i^i'gr. l.i.— Ruined Tower. 



There are two views of the earliest home of the human 
race, and of the locality from which all the migrations started, 
one of which has come from the study of prehistoric archae- 
ology, and the other, from the study of history, traditions and 
architectural remains. 

According to the first view, the starting point was some- 
where in Europe, and the caves were the earliest habitations; 
according to the other view, it was, in southern Asia. In 
fact, man's earliest home was in 'a region where the climate 
was mild, and where vegetation was abundant and every thing 
seemed like a garden. This is the traditionary view, and one 
which in reality comes from the sacred scriptures; but it is 
also the view which is receiving the assent of a large number 
of scientific men, and is confirmed by the discoveries that have 
been recently made in the valley of the Tigris. It is remark- 
able that, after the effort had been made to prove that the 
starting point was in Europe and that the migrations went in 
the other direction, at last, the original view held by the 
ancients, and which was given by the sacred scriptures, should 
be set back again into its place, and we should find that the 
spirit of inspiration has given to us the correct account. 

It may be held by some that this only proves the modern 
date of the Books of Moses, and that the Bible only reflects the 
advanced thought of the people who lived, perhaps, even after 
the time of the exile. There are, however, so many corre- 
spondences between the scripture account and the ancient 
mythologies, that we are led to believe that this view of the 
early condition of mankind and the locality where the first pair 
had their home, really embodied the facts which were known- 
to all the nations of the East. i - 

This is the pomt to which we will call attention, but in do- 
ing so, we shall draw the proofs from many sources. 

I. According to the Greek mythologists and poets there" 
was a garden called the " Garden of Hesperides," and it con-"- 
tained a tree which bore golden apples and was guarded by the 
dog Cerberus and the many-headed dragon, although the loca- 
tion of the garden is not definitely given. ■ Various theories 
have been advanced in reference to this point, for according to". 
some, it was in the remote western part of Africa, in Lybia, 
or on Mt. Atlas; according to others, it was in Cyrenaica, the 


table-land of Africa; and according to still others, it was in the 
extreme north, and answered to the "sacred mountain" of the 
Hindus, Mt. Meru, which is spoken of by Isaiah. According 
to the Greeks it was called Arcadia and was situated in a 
mountain region, resembling that of Greece itself, for it was 
full of never-failing springs and rich pastures, and was occu- 
pied by a race who never abandoned the pastoral life, but lived 
in the simplest manner, leadmg their flocks and herds through 
the rich valleys and up the mountain heights, and alvyays 
retaining their innocence and simplicity. It is to be noticed 
that this story of the garden and the tree and the serpent is 
found in the myths and symbols ot all nations, even those which 
are situated in the far north ot Europe, and the inteiior of 
America and the islands of the sea. This is difficult to account 


for, unless there was a common starting point for all the races 
of the earth, and the same story was known to the ancestors 
of all. It is a strange coincidence that in Central America 
one of the most prominent symbols contained in the ancient 
codices, is that of a tree, with a bar across its branches, making 
it resemble a cross, while two persons are seated at the foot of 
the tree— male and female— who seem to represent our first 
parents. The story connected with them does not refer to the 
Garden of Eden, a'nd yet the picture is plain, and the signi- 
ficance of the symbols is quite suggestive. This would not be 
so strange, if there was any historic connection; especially such 
a connection as is found between the Scandinavian mythology 
and the story of the Garden of Edtn. The Scandinavians be- 
longed to the Indo-European race. But here is a nation 


Situated in Central America which was entirely separate and 
distinct from all historic nations, and yet the symbol of the 
tree is as plain in its significance as the story itself, and can be 
accounted for only on the ground of a transmission from dis- 
tant regions and a survival throughout all changes. 

II. Another confirmation is gained from the study of the 
ancient traditions of the East. These have been transmitted 

■>tr up kitiioux^ 

aRCAL lETOItT 18R3 PL. n 



to us by the various historic nations, — the Phcenicians, Assyri- 
ans, Babylonians, Hebrews and Greeks, — and echoes of them 
by the tribes of the American aborigines. 

I. The event which is the most prominent in the traditions 
of the world, is the Deluge. This seems to have been local, 
though it was ?o early that the tradition of it was preserved by 
all of the nations of the East before they seperated. Each 
nation has a different version of the story — the Babylonians, 

• rhe chart is taken from Calendar of the Mayas, and represents the yearly sacrifices. The 
doti and circles at the corners eive the number of days in the weeks; the circles in th - baml 
around the tree, the number of days in the month; the figures at the side show the four sacri- 
fices; these contain .^lso symbols of the elements, the eaith, air, fire, and water. The seated 
figures, beneath the tree, represent the Divinities, and yet they are significant of the first pair. 


the Hebrews, the Greeks, the Chinese, the North American 
Indians, the inhabitants of Polynesia— but at the same time 
one that contains the same facts. According to the Hebrew 
tradition, the ark was filled with the various animals— domestic 
and wild,— Noah and his three sons and their families, and 
after fortv davs of rain, it lodged among the mountains of 
Armenia;' the animals were let out, and Noah made sacrifices 
and. with his household, began to people the world anew. 

The Tower of Babel, according to the tradition, was erected 
by the descendants of Noah; but the confusion of tongues put 
an end to the work, and the people were scattered to the 
various parts of the world. It is worthy of notice that 
recent discoveries have brought to light the fact that there 
were two or three great nations represented at this time in the 
valley of the Tigris, the Accadians, who were the ancestors of 
the great Turanian race; the Mineans, who were, perhaps, the 
representatives of the Papuan and Hamitic races, and the 
Hebrews, who represented the Semitic race; and the explana- 
tion of the event, is that the nations spoke different languages, 
and the confusion of tongues was owing to this circumstance. 
A supposition is that the Accadians went northward, and ulti- 
mately established the great Chinese Empire; the Mineans 
went westward and became the earliest inhabitants of Arabia-; 
but a large proportion of the Semitics remained in the valley 
and established the Babylonian and Assyrian Empires. 

The story of the Flood is not confined to the scriptures, or 
to mythology, for a tablet was discovered in the depths of a 
pyramid in Babylonia, by Mr. George Smith, which gives the 
Babylonian version written in the cuneiform language, and evi- 
dently very ancient. This Babylonian version lacks the sim- 
plicity and beauty of the scripture record, and yet it contains 
the same facts. The Hebrew narrative makes no definite merr- 
tion of Noah's home, but it harmonizes with the statements of 
the Babylonian story, and admits the possibility that Baby< 
Ionia was the locality. There is one other strange confirmav 
tion: it is found in the fact that mountains surround the val- 
lev of the Tigris, those in Armenia being the nearest. The 
accounts disagree as to the landing place of the vessel, and yet 
the cuneiform narrative confirms the Hebrew story. It. may be 
objected that the art of ship building had not reached so great 
perfection, as to admit of the building of so large a vessel, but 
all the accounts agree in substance on this point, and make it 
apparent that ship building, as well as pyramid building, had 
become common. 

The Babylonian seals give the idea that wheeled chariots 
were in use at a very early date, though after the time of the 
Deluge, for the god Marduk, who was the chief divinity of the 
Babylonians, is represented as riding in his wheel chariot, with 
a spear in his hand, and charging at the dragon. 

2. There are other traditions which confirm this same point. 


The most interesting one, is that concerning the contest 
between the two brothers, Cain and Abel. This has been 
explained as referring to the contest between the shep- 
herds and the agriculturists, this interpretation being sustained 
by the fact that Cain went out and built a city. It is singular 
that the story of the two brothers is common in all parts of the 
world. In some places it represents the contest between the 
east and the west; in others, it represents the conflict between 
the various elements, and is a personification of the Nature 

The building and founding of the city of Rome is attended 
with the story of the two brothers, the younger of which was 
slain by the older. It is a remarkable fact that a hut-urn is 
preserved at Rome, which represents the shepherd's hut m 
which the two brothers found refuge after they had been 
nursed by the wolf in the forest. These are reminders of the 
three conditions of society: the wild life, the shepherd life, and 
the agricultural life; all of which were followed by the found- 
ing and building of cities. Tradition everywhere proves that 
there Was as slow progress of society through different stages 
in the East, as may be found in the West. The history of 
mankind has everywhere been attended by the same results. 

There are certain details about the story of the Flood and of 
the confusion of tongues, which are difficult to account for, vet 
the event is confirmed by the monuments, as well as by tradi- 
tion. First, the very tower, or temple, called Ziggurat, has 
been discovered at Nippur, on which tradition shows the con- 
fusion of tongues occurred. Second, the tablets, which show 
domestic oxen. at the watering troughs, and horses attached to 
war chariots, show that domestic animals were common in 
Babylonia at an early date. Third, the introduction of horses 
into Egypt, and ot horses and oxen, and fruits and grains, 
among the lake-dwellings proves that they were introduced 
from the East. Fourth, the fact that the valley of the Tigris 
is the only place where the remains of the Stone Age have not 
been found, proves that civilization first prevailed here. Fifth, 
the fact that the story of the ark has been preserved among 
nearly all the nations of the earth, proves that their start- 
ing point was in this traditionary spot, though the details of 
the^ story varies, according to the locality and the social 
condition of the people who hold it. It is remarkable that 
even in America, the story of the Flood is very prevalent, but 
it varies among the different tribes. The wild tribes of the 
east havs one version; the civilized tribes of the southwest 
have another, and the tribes of the northwest, still another, 
each of thejn having their own method of perpetuating the 

3, It is interesting on this account to examine the picture- 
writing and the symbols still in existence among the American 
tribes, and see how closely the story contained in them corre- 





// l^feK 

spends to that 
which comes to 
us from the far 
P^ast. The Iro- 
quois and Dela- 
wares have the 
bark record 
called the "Red 
Score," upon 
which is record- 
ed the story of 
Creation, the 
Temptation, the 
Deluge, the 
Rescue, or sur- 
vival from the 
Deluge, and the 
repeopling of 
the earth, in 
which the chief 
divinity called 
serves the chief 
part. This has 
been explained 
in the book on 
"Myths and 
Symbols," and a 
cut which repre- 
sents a part of 
this bark record 
is given here, so 
that the reader 
may study it, 
and see how it 
with the story 
given in the 
scriptures; the 
imager)' being 
just such as an 
people would 
be likely to un- 
ci erstand and 
appreciate. The 
same story is 
contained in the 
Calendar Stone 
of Mexico. In 


the center of this stone we find symbols representing the four 
periods of Creation; one of which was after the world was 
destroyed by the flood. There are other picto-graphs in 
America, which represent Noah and his family in the ark, 
at least, such is the interpretation given to the pictures by 
those who are familiar with them. 

There are many other traditions of the Flood which furnish 
proofs that the different races must have once started from this 
central point. The Phoenicians, the Greeks, and the Hindus, 
all have the same story. 

III. There are many other proofs of this same point, among 
which we mention the origin of the different alphabets. It 
appears that the Babylonians had one style of writing— the 
cuneiform; the Egyptians had two styles— the hieroglyphic 
and the demotic; the Phoenicians, the Hebrews and the Greeks 
had the phonetic alphabet; the Chinese had a monosyllabic 
style of writing, each character containing a word, made up of 
a combination of symbols or characters. The Phoenician alpha- 
bet is the one most relied upon to illustrate the progress of the 
civilization of the world, and especially the progress of archi- 
tecture in the Old World. In this alphabet we find picto- 
graphs which represent the earliest form of the house, as the 
letter B, or Beth, signifies house, and the very shape of the 
primitive house or tent, with the open door and round roof, is 
given by it. The letter D, or Daleth, signifies the door, and 
represents the triangular opening to a tent. The two letters 
here illustrate the difference between the door of the tent and 
the door of the house. The letter E, with its bars horizontal 
and upright, represents the window of a house. The Phoenici- 
ans are said to have borrowed their alphabet from the Egypt- 
ians and transmitted it to the Hebrews, though Cadmus is said 
to have been the inventor of the alphabet. The shape, how- 
ever, of the Greek and Hebrew letters show that they were 
invented after the people had become familiar with the differ- 
ent parts of a house, and after they had given up the hut for 
the frame house. 

There are pictures of houses on the rocks of Babylonia, 
which show that the earliest houses there, were conical in shape, 
and resembled the conical huts which are still common among 
thewanderingtribesof Tartars and other Northern people. They 
also resemble the conical huts found among the North Ameri- 
can Indians; whereas, the house which is represented by the 
Phoenician alphabet, is that which was common among the 
Egyptians at a very early date, for it had a hemispherical roof 
and straight walls. All early houses were constructed out 

The cut on the preceding page represents the story of Creation under the figure of an arch, 
which is followed by a picture of the Creator and the divisions of the land and sky, the creation 
of the sun. moon and stars; afterw.ird the cr^ration of man and woman An evil Manitou ap- 
pears under the figure ot a serpent. The first pair are at first happy, but the serpent tempts 
them and brings a great flood Finally. Mauabozho, the strong white one, appears and brings 
deliverance; the waier ran off the earth, the lakes were at reit, all was silent, and the mighty 
snake departed. See "Red Score," by D G Brinton. 


of bent poles, or of adobe, but the houses of the Babylonians 
were constructed of sun-dried brick, and with walls of im- 
mense thickness. 

IV. We arc not confined, however, to mere tradition or myth- 
ology for our proof that the first home of the human race was 
in this traditionary spot, for it is written on the very sky itself. 
It is noticeable that the map of the heavens was familiar to the 
nations of the East, and this map in itself conveys facts and 
truths which correspond to the traditions. The Greeks recog- 
nized Hercules strangling the serpents; the giant Bootes, with 
his club; Draco, the dragon; Cygnus, the swan, as well as the 
Great Bear and Little Bear. The Egyptians recognized the 
crocodile and the hippopotamus; also Horus strangling the 
crocodile, and the constellation of the thigh, as well as that of 
the lion. These constellations were known to all the tribes of 
the North, and it was a common custom for the people scat- 
tered over Europe, Asia and Africa to recognize the same 
strange figures in the sky. Mr. Norman Lockyer has written 
of this, and has from it made an argument in favor of the ex- 
treme antiquity of the pyramids of Egypt. The stars in 
Draco were circumpolar about 5000 B. C, but at 2000 B. C. the 
stars were in Ursa Major, and this accounts for the difference 
between the Egyptian and the ordinary constellations. The 
Star map, representing the precessional movement of the 
celestial pole from 4000 B. C. to 2000 B. C., is given in his 
work on the "Dawn of Astronomy." 

It is a remarkable fact that the North American Indians 
recognize the constellation of the Bear, and they have a story 
connected with it, which corresponds to their own habits of 
life. They do not recognize the great Serpent in the sky, and 
yet they do recognize the revolution of the Bear around a 
point in the sky, and make much of this fact. They also 
recognize the Pleiades, and regulate their feasts and religious 
ceremonies by its position in the sky. We may conclude, 
then, that even the people who settled this continent, and who 
have no knowledge of any other continent and no memory of 
events which are so familiar to us all, through our knowledge 
of the scriptures and our familiarity with the ancient traditions, 
were in reality emigrants from the far East and had their first 
home in the same place that our ancestors had. 

There is another argument furnished by the geography of 
the heavens. It appears that in the northern sky the constel- 
lations represent objects which are familiar to the savages, viz : 
the bear and the serpent, but those in the equatorial belt, ob- 
jects which are familiar to civilized people, the lyre, the chair, 
the bull and the sickle. The only exception is that Hercules, 
Bootes and the harp appear in the northern sky. This would 
indicate that the races separated before the constellations were 

Mr. Norman Lockyer says:. '.'In all countries — India, China, 


Babylonia and Ep^ypt — they use the girdle of the stars to repre- 
sent the stations through which the sun passed in his course, 
but this was after astronomy had become famih'ar to the peo- 
ple. Babylonia being the first or earliest place where the stars 
were studied. In Egypt the constellations embraced such 
figures as the crocodile, the hippopotamus and the lion, all of 
which were wild animals; but they represent boats as sailing 
over the sky, thus indicating that civilization dawned there at 
an early date." 

No such constellations were known to the natives of 
America, and would not have been understood, if they were 
known. On the contrary, the very constellations which are 
familiar to all have a story connected with them, which is sug- 


gestive of the hunter life which prevailed on this continent. 
The Indiins recognize the figure of a bear, but do not recog- 
nize the figure of the Dipper, or the handle of the Dipper; but, 
on the other hand, they see a little cluster of stars which 
represents a kettle, and the story is that a little boy attended 
the hunter, with a kettle in his hand, expecting that the chase 
would be successful. ; 

V. The history of the East is very suggestive of the 
early condition of mankind, as well as of the first starting 
point. It has been an impression with many that history began 
with civilization highly developed at the start. It is, how- 
ever, an impression that is not sustained by scripture, or by 
science. The picture given by the first five chapters of Genesis 
is one of pristine innocence. The Garden of Edert ^vas the 


abode of the first pair, who dwelt at ease, amid the beauties of 
Nature, and had every want supplied with labor and without 
care. It is the same picture which is given by poetry, and 
reminds us of the Arcadia of the poets. The picture exter- 
nally corresponds to the sc(;es which abounded in the valley of 
the Tigris. The streams surrounding the garden, the trees 
within it, and the mild climate and abundance of fruit and 
vegetation which formally prevailed in this region, made it a 

The growth of cities and extension of empire developed 
the resources of the country, but increased the labor and trials 
of people, as depotism took the place of liberty, liberty, 
which was the natural inheritance of mankind. The digging 
of canals and the use of irrigation developed the resources of 
the country, but increased the toils of the common people, 
and made the difference between the poor and the rich, the 
ruled and the rulers, very marked. There was the same senti- 
ment, which afterward prevailed in Peru, and to a certain ex- 
tent in Central America, that the rulers were of divine offspring, 
and so were entitled to their power and distinction, though 
when the people *,ame under the influence of idolatry and the 
training of the priests, there grew a submission which ulti- 
mately became very abject servitude. 

It was the influence of religion which led the people to 
erect their great pyramids and place the Shrine to the Sun 
Divinity on the summit, and to give power to the priests and 
to the kings to erect their great palaces, and to dwell apart 
from the people. It was exactly the same condition which pre- 
vailed on this continent at the time of its discovery. The 
cities became very numerous, and all of them were marked 
by pyramids and by palaces, many of them surrounded by 
high walls and wide gates leading in every direction. The 
evidence is that irrigation was practised, and the entire valley 
of the Tigris was filled with a teeming population, but all 
divided into tetrarchies. 

The four cities mentioned by the scriptures, are Babel, 
Erech, Accad, and Calneh. Two of these, namely, Erech and 
Calneh have been identified with the ruins of Warkur and 
Nippur. Mugheir has been identified as Ur, which was the birth- 
place of Abraham. It was the southern most of all the great 
cities, and was originally a sea port. Like its three sisters, it 
was the great seat of that form of idolatry which marks the 
Chaldean period; the moon being worshipped at Ur; the sun 
at Ellasar, and Bel, or Beltis, at Calneh and Erech, as we learn 
from the ruined temples. Of the northern tetrapolis, the ruins 
have been discovered in the mound of Birs Nimrud of Sip- 
para, at Nippur. The pyramids which are found in this 
region, are signs that idolatry prevailed, for the great Chaldean 
towers were temples devoted to the sun, moon and the heavenly 
bodies. The number of stories at Borsippa was seven, corre- 


spending to the sun, moon, and five planets. They were dis- 
tinguished by different colors. The first, black; the second, 
orange; the third, red; the fourth, golden; the fifth, yellow; 
the sixth, blue; the seventh, silver. 

What stages of architecture preceded these great cities is 
now unknown, still the probability is that there was a growth 
before the days of the Flood, which enabled the survivors to 
begin where the Antidiluvians left off, for there are pictures of 
huts on the rocks clustered together, showing that the common 
people were still retaining the primitive habits and modes of 
life, after the ruling classes had reached such a high degree of 

VI. The chronological system also proves the same point. 
Among the ancient races there were two or three different 
methods of dividing the year. One of these was apparently 
adopted by the hunter tribes; another, by the agriculturists, 
and a third by those who dwelt in cities, andvvho erected the 
temples and pyramids, each one having a different system of 
astronomy, or rather, astrology. In the primitive or prehistoric 
age, the polar star, or the north star, was the center around 
\vhich the heavenly bodies revolved, and it was supposed to be 
the dwelling place of the creating power. It was at this time 
that cities were built up in the valley of the Tigris and the 
Nile and nations began to appear in China, in India, in Arabia, 
in North Africa on the borders of the Euxine. in the islands 
of the Mediterranean, and as far away as the North Sea. 

There were also cities in America, and tribes in Central 
America, and tribes scattered through the interior of the con- 
tinent, each one of which had a calendar system v hich was 
best suited to its own purposes. The study of comparative 
chronology has not gone far enough for us to c raw any final 
conclustio'ns, but we may say this, that there was no unity 
among the nations, for each nation had priests, or medicine 
men, who were learned in the science of astrology, and who 
gave direction to the religious ceremonies of the people; even 
controlled the employments, and laid out the cities according 
to the system which had been adopted; that the pyramids and 
temples were oriented toward the different points, and the 
whole arrangement of the buildings, and even the ornamenta- 
tion of the buildings, were subservient to the calendar system. 
What is more, each nation and tribe had a special number, 
which was sacred. The Babylonians taking No 7; the Chinese, 
No. 9; the North American' Indians, No. 4; the Zunis and the 
Pueblo tribes, Nos. 13, 7 and 6; the Central Americans, Nos. 4. 
5, 13 and 20. The study of these different numbers and the 
systems connected with'thcm is very suggestive, for it throws 
great li^ht upon the architecture which arose, end upon the 
religious customs which prevailed. 

It appears that all the ancient cities, many of which ae in 
ruins at the present time, were laid out according to a system, 


which involved the study of the heavens, as well as of the 
earth, and the temples were generally the center of the city, 
the palaces were near the temples. The number of the cities 
which were grouped together was the result of the religious 
system. This furnishes an explanation of the tetrarchy which 
prexailed in Babylonia, and of the orientation of the pyramids 
there. It furnishes an explanation of the pyramids of Egypt, 
and especially of the orientation of the temples there. Many 
of them were used almost as telescopes to catch the rays of 
the sun at its rising at the time of the solstices, very much as 


the ancient temple of Stonehenge was. We may say also that 
the ancient cities of America were arranged according to the 
calendar system. The temple was the chief and central object, 
and all the roads led to it. 

A theory has been advanced by Mr. F. W. Hewitt in refer- 
ence to the temples in Central America and the calendar sys- 

* The cat represents the four serpents which guarded the sacred year, each serpent being 
marked by thirteen rings, to symbolize the months. The figures inside of th: squares symbol- 
izing the activities of the seasons, and other figures representing the various symbols of the 
days, the whole making fifty-two years, which was a sacred cycle, the face of the sun in 
center symbolizing the great Divinity. Thare is, certainly, no chart or series of symbols, 
either in India or China, or any other part of the world, resembling it, and yet the idea may 
have been borrowed from the East. * 


tem which prevailed there, to the effect that it embodied the 
same system which existed in India; as the division of the year 
into thirteen months, which were composed of four weeks of 
five days each, was exactly the same as that which prevailed 
in India. This is exceedingly doubtful, still it is suggestive, 
and may lead to a further study of the ruined cities of both 
India and America. 

. One thing we are to notice, viz.: that the serpent symbol 
embodied the calendar system, for the four serpents arranged 
around the face and divided into thirteen parts, symbolized the 
months and days of the year. The calendar stone was so full 
of symbols, that it became a study for the priests, for all fhe 
employments of the people were directed by it. 

The sacred year consisted of thirteen months of twenty 
days each, the months being divided into four weeks of five 
days each; the secular year of eighteen months of twenty days. 
Now, it is remarkable that there are symbols or picto-graphs 
cf trees and serpents and many other objects, which plainly 
represent the calendar system, and these remind us very much 
of symbols which prevailed in the far East. Mr. F. W. 
Hewitt maintains that these symbols were derived from the 
Hindus, and contain many of the figures and symbols which 
are common in India, and claims that the Hindu year was 
divided into months and weeks of the same length as in 
America, thirteen months forming the calendar year, each 
divided into four weeks of five days each. The linear measure 
was derived from the counting of the fingers on the hands, aqd 
the length of the hand, fingers and arms, a system which 
prevailed also in America. 

VII. The growth of architecture in the Stone Age 
is worthy of study in this connection. It has been found 
that the Stone Age prevailed in Egypt, but that it was marked 
by the graves of a very rude people, who buried their dead in 
a circular pit which they surrounded by pottery vessels, but a' 
new age was introduced by a race which erected their tombs 
in the shape of a house, and called it a " Mastabah." The pyra- 
mids were really nothing more or less than a great series of 
Mastabahs. In Greece there was a Stone Age which continued' 
almost up to the time of Homer. During this age the form of 
structure of the house was that of a cone, and the form was 
perpetuated in the tomb of the Mycaenian kings. It is notice- 
able that in all other lands the same form of the hut marked 
the Stone Age, and was preserved in the tombs of the kings. 
It is by this means that we may trace the growth of archi-> 
tecture from its early beginnings. 

It is remarkable that this kind of conical hut can be put 
together with the hands without any tools, and without any 
other support than is secured by the walls, which come together 
at a point. This is in itself an evidence that the various civil- 
ized races grew up out of a rude and primitive condition. It 



was by the improvement of tools and the advancement of 
civilization that the change came, when the nations began to 
build perpendicular walls, and place upon the top of them 
timber which should serve as a support for the roof, though 
the form of the roof might vary according to locality, climate 
and other circumstances. In a climate like that of Egypt, the 
roof was likely to be flat. In a climate like that of Greece, 
with a peak at the top and a projection at the bottom, and 
held together by its own weight. The next stage would be to 
place a cornice on the eaves, and an entablature at the front. 
There was, however, no new mechanical principle involved. 
The material might vary, the walls might be made of adobe or 
sun-dried brick, but it was because they were built upright, that 
they served as supports to the roof. 

There came, however, ultimately a new principle, for 
there was the use of the pier and lintel in making the doorway, 
or opening in the wall. There came also the use of the column in 

^,i.^-. supporting the roof, 
"*^^ and the use of the 
arch in supporting the 
heavy weight which 
might be produced by 
the size of the build- 
ings and by the 
change of material. 

Now, the fact that 
in Babylonia we find 
the earliest buildings, 
which are constructed 
after the pattern of a 
modern house, with 
upright walls and 
openings in the walls, and large rooms within, covered with 
roofs, and columns to support the roofs, and arches to support 
the weight, shows that the starting point of architecture was 
in reality in this very region, which is described as the home 
of the earliest civilization. We may take a sweep of all the 
countries surrounding this center, and we shall not find any 
place where architecture dates back to an earlier period. On 
the other hand, we find the ruined cities everywhere presenting 
the same general principles. 

Schliemann discovered at Hissarlik a succession of cities; 
F. W. Bliss found at Lachish a similar succession; Hilprecht 
found at Nippur that it was a mound made up of many cities; 
Arthur Evans found the same evidence of a succession of 
population, and a number of cities built upon the ruins of one 
another; but in all cases there seemed to have been certain ele- 
ments introduced from some other source. So far as has been 
ascertained the starting point was from the valley of the Tigris. 
There were, to be sure, at Athens cyclopoean walls, which are 



not found in the valley of the Tigris. There was a number of 
walls constructed from burned brick and from stone at Troy. 
But in each one of these layers of the mounds we may read 
the history of many cities which lie in ruins, and think of the 
succession of people which appeared in this region; yet if we 
go in either direction from these centers, we soon come to 
those rude stone monuments which remind us of what the con- 
dition of society once was in these distant localities. The same 
lesson is taught us in our own country, for we need only to go 
from the great centers to the frontier to find architecture in its 
primitive stage. But when we go back to the first home of 
mankind in the valley of the Tigris, and examine the cities 
which have been brought to light from the depths of the great 
mounds which have so long remained silent, and find the evi- 


dence of writing in the libraries which have been opened to 
view, we are astonished at the record and are convinced that 
the starting point is just where tradition and scripture have 
placed it. 

These facts show that the earliest home of civilization was in 
the southern part of the Asiatic continent and near the mouth 
of the Tigris, a region which is surrounded on all sides by 
mountains, but was connected by seas and rivers with other 
parts of the world. Civilization appeared first among the 
Accadians and the Semitics, and some hold that there was a 
third race, called the Mineans, in the Arabian desert. The 
contest which occurred between the Accadians and Semitics at 
the Tower of Babel, led the first-mentioned to take their de- 
parture, and they migrated northward and established what 
proved to be the Chinese civilization on the rivers which flow 
into the Pacific. 

46 . . 

There was, to be sure, a race in Africa which grew up Into 
a high grade of civilization, and established a great empire on 
the'banks of the Nile, which was entirely different from the 
Babylonian, and in contrast with the preceding race, whose 
graves have been recently found; the mountains of Arabia 
upon the one side protecting them from the attacks of the 
wild tribes, and the deserts of Africa also protecting them on 
the othex side. There arose, however, a race which belonged 
to the Semitic stock, who became the navigators and traders of 
the world, namely, the Phoenicians. They never originated a 
civilization of their own, but they transmitted it from the edst 
to the west. They, as Mr. A. H. Keane has shown in his 
remarkable book called "The Land of Ophir," sailed along 
the coast of Asia, up the gulf of Suez, and finally reached the 
Mediterranean. It is supposed by some that they opened the 
mines which have been so recently discovered in Mashonaland 
and Rhodesia, and established trading stations on the east 
coast of the Gulf of Suez. This can be said, at least, a 
Himyaritic settlement was established in southern Arabia long 
before the days of the Queen of Sheba. Mr. Keane thinks 
that the Phoenicians gave their art to Crete and Cyprus, and 
that this served as the beginnmg of the Mycaenian civilization. 
' The same point is illustrated by the history of civilization 
everywhere. It was not because certain nations had power to 
overcome all obstacles, and by their own unaided efforts were 
able to rise to a high condition, but because their situation was 
favorable, and especially because the effects of civilization, 
which had arisen elsewhere, were transmitted to them. Such, 
at least, was the case with all the civilized nations of the Old 
World. And we see no reason for making the civilized nations 
of the New World an exception, even if the evidence of trans- 
mission has not as yet been given. 

The conclusion which we reach from the study of these 
various facts, is that the earliest home of the human race was 
in the very place where tradition and the scriptures have shown 
it to have been, but it was owing to the separation of the 
tribes and nations of the earth at a very early date, and through 
migrations from this very spot, that the world was peopled. 
What effect this fact may have upon the opinion which mav be 
formed in reference to the first peopiTng of this continent and 
the rise of civilization here, will depend upon the preconceived 
theories; yet the fact that there are so many resemblances 
between the customs, traditions, habits and styles which pre- 
vailed in the far East, and especiall)- in the ruined cities dis- 
covered there, and those which are to be found here, cannot 
fail to gi\'e interest to this study. 



We have spoken in a previous chapter of the earliest home 
of the human race, and ha\e shown that it was in the valle\- of 
the Tigris and Euphrates, the very localities spoken of in the 
Scriptures and referred to in the traditions prevalent in the 
East. We are to devote this chapter to the study of the be- 
ginnings of architecture, but shall go back to this very locality 
for illustrations of the subject. 

It is a remarkable fact that the earliest mention of structures 
of any kind, is that which concerns the tree, the gateway, the 
altar and the city, all of which are mentioned in the story of 
the Garden of Eden. It may, indeed, seem to be a mere 
assumption when we say that these form the elements which 
appeared in the earliest architecture of the world, but such is 
the opinion of the best writers upon the subject, and it has 
been confirmed, by many recent discoveries. It was formerly 
the opinion that the cave was the earliest abode of man, and 
that the rude hut took its place, and following this was the 
house, with its doorways and walls and roof; but as we go back 
to the earliest days we find that primitive man lived in a warm 
climate, and dwelt among the trees and found food and shelter 
from the objects of Nature, and only as he wandered from his 
first home did he find it necessary to resort to caves. The 
date of his departure from this traditional locality is some- 
what uncertain, but recent discoveries have carried back the 
beginnings of civilization so early, that manj^ have concluded 
the historic period here preceded the prehistoric elsewhere, and 
that men were building cities in the central region, while they 
were dwelling in caves in other and distant localities. This 
does not prove there was no Stone Age in this region, but, on 
the contrary, it carries back the date of the age indefinitely, 
and makes us to realize something as to the antiquity of man 
upon the earth. 

In reference to the earliest condition of man in this locality, 
we have no actual information, except that which comes to us 
through tradition; but judging from the nature of the soil, and 
the character of the climate, and the resources of the country, 
we may conclude that here man first abandoned the wild state, 
came into the practice of agriculture, and began the custom of 
erecting villages, which ultimately grew into cities, and became 
thoroughly civilized. Such is the opinion of those who have 
visited the region and have noticed the wonderful fertility of 
the soil and the ease with which it was irrigated, and the evi- 


dence of a numerous population, which once inhabited the 
region; making it worthy of the name of " Paradise," though 
at present desolation reigns supreme. The same opinion is 
expressed by those who have studied the ruins of the various 
cities which once stood beside the banks of these historic 
rivers, for they find that there has been a succession of races 
and peoples for many thousands of years. 

What the earliest structures were remains somewhat un- 
certain, but it seems that man, even in the state of nature, was 
endowed with certain qualities which enabled him to under- 
stand and to use the mechanical principles, for this progress is 
manifest in the various structures which embody these princi- 
ples, the earliest specimens of which were probably erected 
in the valley of the Tigris. 

Th2se may have been made out of wood, resembling 
those which are still occupied by people in various parts 


of the world, of which illustrations are given in the cut. The 
rude huts, which were the primitive habitations of man, be- 
came more pretentious, and these were followed by the great 
cities which are mentioned in history. The same mechanical 
principles were found in the city that were embodied in the 
house, for every city had a wall corresponding to the wall of 
the house, a gateway corresponding to the doorway of the 
house, and a temple corresponding to the hearth in a house. 
The house may have been a mere hut made of poles, reeds, 

•This cut represents the huts which are <till cjmmoa amid the tropical forests of the South 
Sea Islands. The huts which were built ot the plains of Babylonia resembled them in some 
reipects, but Wire made from wattle-wjrk :)veredwith clay, and had peaked rjofs. Pictures 
of these may be seen cut into the rocks of the region. 

49 . 

wattle-work or mud, but it must necessarily have a wall and a 
door, or an opening of some kind, and generally would have a 
hearth in the center. The village would, also, naturally have 
a wall of some kind surrounding it, and a gateway at its en- 
trance. It matters not whether the walls were composed of 
timber stockades, or of stone; the gateway a mere opening in 
the wall, or constituting a lofty portal, the same elements 
appear in the village as are found in the house. The city 
always must present the same features: the wall of the city 
being only a repetition of that of the house and village; the 
gateway that led into the city was the repetition of the door- 
way that led into the house; the altar, which was the center of 
the city, was only the reproduction of the hearth, which was 
the center of the household, and the temple was only the out- 
growth of the altar. The king, or chief, who ruled over the 
city, was only the representative of the father of the house- 
hold. The divinity, which was worshipped in the temple, was 
the divinity of the hearth, with his character changed and his 
dominion enlarged; the religion of the household being trans- 
ferred to the temple. This correlation is very important, for 
it was from the domestic and religious life that architecture 
grew, and it was this which ruled throughout all the earliest 
stages of its progress. 

There are, to be sure, some who hold that the rude stone 
monuments, which are scattered over the globe, actually pre- 
ceded all of these structures which have been referred to in 
history, and that the dolmens, the standing stones, the menhirs 
and the triliths, and the earth circles, were the elements out of 
which all architecture was developed; and it was in the open- 
air temple that religion made its first home. But we may con- 
clude that these were only modifications which were adopted 
by a rude people, who dwelt in the forest and who, as the 
children of nature, disliked the restraints of the city and the 
customs of organized society, and they only show a parallel de- 
development, and prove nothing in reference to the early 
stages of architecture. It is to be acknowledged that these 
were all consecrated to the worship of nature divinities, and 
were connected with the sun worship; but they contain the 
same elements which were incorporated in the house, and 
afterward in the city. The dolmen, which was used as a bury- 
ing place, was patterned after the house — the earth wall 
represented the wall of the city, the trilith represented the 
door, the altar stone represented the hearth, the standing stone 
represented the column; the only element lacking to make a 
perfect structure, was the roof. 

These facts only illustrate the point which we have made, 
for the structures which appeared in the prehistoric and the 
early historic periods were all connected with the "beginnings 
of architecture," and were the embodiment of it, under 
diverse forms. They also show that all nations, whether situa- 


ted in Europe, Asia, Afiica, or America, passed through about 
the same stages of progress, and erected the same class of 
structures; making walls which were similar wherever they ap- 
peared; also, gateways, columns, and even cornices, which 
resemble one another, the chief difference being in the st\ le of 
ornamentation and the finish of the different parts. 

I. This is the point which we design to illustrate, and shall 
begin with the description of the wall. 

Tradition carries us back to the walls made of osiers, and to 
the conical roof of the early dwellings, but the walls of the 
first cities were generally built of masses of clay, supported by 
abutments; or of rough stone, partially trimmed, called 
cyclopaean walls; or of polygonal stones; or of stones placed 
in layers— the progress of society being represented by each 
style of wall. Various specimens of these walls may be seen 

in the cuts; one of 
-«— 1^-— z?-,.^.ii5si^ which represents the 
cyclopcean walls ana 
the Lion Gateway, 
which were in front 
of the Bee-Hive tomb 
of the Mycenaean 
kings; another, repre 
sents the different 
styles of walls which 
have been found in 
the city of Jerusalem; 
the third represents 
the wall with abut- 
ments, which sur- 
rounded the temple 
of Jerusalem, the very shape of the stones, and the construction 
of the walls, furnishing the means by which the history of the 
city and the temple can be read. 

Recent explorations at the ancient Gaza have brought to 
light a remarkable structure, This megalithic structure is ex- 
hibited in the plate. It consists of eight pillars, three of them 
still standing, and an altar, or a socket, used for holding the 
" Asherah," or symbol of worship. Mr. Masterman says: 

We have the remains of at least seven periods of occupation. Begin- 
ning with the caves in which flint knives and a primitive kind of pottery 
was found, we come next to the period of the earliest city builders, or temple 
builders, who have surrounded their large enclosure with a city wall, con- 
sisting of an earth bank faced with stone. We next find a circle of stand- 
ing stones resembling those found at Stonehenge in Great Britain, We 
afterwards find the great Baal Temple, which belonged to the period of the 
Bronze .\ge; after this, the historic period. ; 

At first the size of the stones was regarded as an index 
of a nation's grandeur, and everywhere we find the great 
cyclopcean walls, which were put together by the brute strength 
of the people, who were gathered in masses and ruled by one 







I— t 











mind, but afterward the stones which involved more mechanical 
skill and showed a higher finish, were placed in the walls. The 
same thing is true of the house and the temple — size, rather 
than finish, was the standard of excellence. 

In Babylonia the first or earliest buildings which have been 
discovered were made of sun-burned brick, but were made up 
of walls of immense thickness, and contained drains, some of 
which were arched. The mechanical skill required to construct 
these walls and the drains was far bej'ond that which was 
exercised in the Stone Age. The testimony of all the ex- 
plorers is to the same effect. Their dates may have been 
exaggerated, but the facts remain the same. The cities of 
Babylonia show that a fair degree of civilization had been 

With clay as a building material, so readily moulded into 
any desired shape and capable of being baked by the action of 
the sun, without the use of fire, it was almost as easy to build 
a large house as a small one, by the addition of rooms and 
wings, and stories, which differentiated the house from the 
palace, and the palace from the temple, and served to make 
hugeness the index of grandeur. The best specimens of archi- 
tecture of Babylonia and Assyria, as well as Egypt, were 
characterized by such hugeness, but without any external 

The cyclopoean masonry was used in the Argive fortresses, 
as well as the gate^vays of Mycenae, and was earlier than the 
well-dressed blocks so common at Troy, but it is supposed that 
the massive clay walls discovered by the American explorers 
at Nippur were much earlier, for they date back as far as 
4500 B. C, which was anterior to the building of the pyramids. 
The American explorers also found pavements at Nippur, which 
dated back to pre Sargonic times; one of which was called the 
pavement of Naram Sin. It was situated about six or eight 
feet above the present level of the desert. Mr. Haynes pene- 
trated through more than thirty feet of ruins before he reached 
the virgin soil, and thirty-five feet before he was at the water 
level. But at this lower level there were the human remains, 
which showed that man had existed in a rude state before this 
great city, whose ruins rise so high above the desert, had begun 
to be built. It is supposed, by Mr. Haynes, to be the ancient 
place where sacrificial victims were burned; but by Profe'-sor 
Hilprecht was supposed to mark the site of a prehistoric grave, 
which was dug during the Stone Age. 

Prof. Hilprecht says that twenty-one strata of histoiical 
periods are represented by the ruins of Nippur. In the earliest 
Sumerian stratum we recognize six phases of historical develop- 
ment, by the remains of the different kinds of brick employed 
and by the size of the brick; six periods are determined by frag- 
ments of baked and unbaked bricks in the temple court. The 
walls of the early period were of immense thickness, and were 



made of unburned clay, but columns were not used until quite 
late in history. In fact, it is supposed by Prof. Hilprecht that 
there were libraries in Babylonia before columns were built. 
Gateways, with inscribed sockets, were used before there were 

columns. Ziggurats, 

or towers, were built 
before the column 
came into use. An 
arch, made out of 
brick, with wedge- 
shaped joints, and 
made out of simple 
clay, was discovered. 
It was built to sup- 
port a vaulted tunnel, 
which was used for 
the draining of the 
foundations of the 
palace and the 
temple; the preservation of the arch for six thousand years 
showing the same mechanical strength and skill that built it. 
The religious instincts of the people, to be sure, for a long 
time discouraged any deviation from the original shapes. The 
sacredness of the house, led to the perpetuity of its shape in 
the tomb, and the sacredness of both gave a conventional 
shape to the temple. The conception of the universe was that 
of a great house, whose dome spanned the sky, and was peo- 
pled by the divinities, above, and by man below. 

In Egypt, also, graves have been found which antedated the 
days of the pyramids by several thousand years. These graves 
show that the habitation which was occupied, was a circular 
hut, and that the 
people were in the 
Stone Age, but 
were acquainted 
with the use of 
pottery, and were 
accustomed to 
bury their dead in 
the form of a cir- 
cular grave, and 
deposit pottery 
vessels along with 

The history of 
the city of Jerusa- 
lem is written in its walls and in the stones lying beneath the 
surface. But before the city was occupied by the Israelites 
there was on the same spot, the walled town which was built by 
the Canaanites, and was, perhaps, overthrown by the Hittites. 

=■->-*-«" \ ■■■. V- , - J^ 

.^^^/^- — ->- 







These possibly may have been in existence when Abraham 
was following his flocks. 

The excavations at Jerusalem, conducted afterward by Mr. 
Bliss, revealed a series of walls and gateways, which proved a 
succession of cities even at Jerusalem. The stones in the wall 
show various styles of masonry and several periods of rebuild- 
ing. The lowest course show rough foundation work; above 
it, quarry-dressed and roughly-squared; the third, straight 
joints; the fourth, chisel-picked centers and combed-margins; 
another, rough bosses and comb-picked margins. Great towers 
were found, with massive walls; also rock-hewn chambers and 
door-sills, which had been worn by the feet of those who passed 
over them. A succession of these, one above the other, showed 
the passage of time. Mr. F, J. Bliss says: "The hint is 


furnished by the fortifications, that the first city was built to 
resist the great conquerors of the Egyptian d)'nasty, begin- 
ning with Thothmes I. It is possible, however, that they may 
have been built earlier as a protection against local foes."* 

II. We turn to the gateway. This is a very important ele- 
ment in the histor)- of architecture, for it carries us back to the 
earliest times, when men dwelt in huts, and brings us on to the 
time when they dwelt in great cities, whose walls secured a 
defense, and entrance to which was thoroughly guarded. 

We give a picture of the gateway at Mycenas, which repre- 
sents the different kinds of walls, the earliest form of the arch, 
the earlie>it form of the column, and the earliest form of the 
hut or house; all in close proximit)', and all suggestive of the 

* Mounds of Many Cities," p. 137. 


traditions of the past, but full of promise for the future. This 
gateway brings to light that stage of civilization which pre- 
vailed during the Mycenaean Age, and shows us the gradual de- 
velopment of architecture through all ages. We see in the 
walls that guarded the entrance to the gateway, the different 
forms and styles of dressing the stone: the rough course of 
masonry represents the cyclopcean period ; the polygonal stones 
represent the second period; the stones with rough bosses 
projecting, the third period. 

The same forms of masonry have been found by Mr. F. J. 
Bliss in the walls of Jerusalem. Besides these, he found both 
quarry-dressed and chisel-picked stone, making a fourth and 
5fth period. The gatevvays at Jerusalem show several distinct 
periods, by super-induced sills with door sockets. The width 
of the gate varies, with the different periods, but the smooth- 
faced masonry continued through four gate periods. The 
abutment? and gate-towers are important in connection with 
the history of architecture. In the earliest period, there were 
no abutments and no columns, but at a later period abutments 
appeared in Babylonia, in Jerusalem, at Damascus, and at Troy. 
But the plain wall, with its different kinds of stone cutting or 
trimming, is a better index of age or period, than the abutment. 
Great catastrophies came upon the different cities of the e^ist, 
and changed them into immense heaps, from which there 
stood forth only the great thick walls and the terraces of 
the temples. But it is difificult to determine the age, from tbe 
ruins and debris of the temples; so that when we find a gate- 
way like that at Mycenae, we can read the record more readily 
and correctly, than we can that which is presented by different 
layers of earth, or the different kinds of buildings. There 
were gateways at Babylonia belonging to different periods^ 
some of which were guarded by lion-headed figures; others, by 
the figures of immense bulls, and by human figures, with eagle 
heads, showing that the religious symbols were incorporated 
into the architecture at a very early date. There were also 
great gateways in front of the temples of Egypt, but in front 
of the gateways there were long, parallel lines of sphinxes^ 
arranged in double rows, which guarded the approach to the 
temple, and imparted a sense of awe and fear to all who ap- 
proached the temple. The gateway itself was of a more im- 
posing height than the temple, in front of which it stood, but 
it was built after the same general style, with its walls drawing 
in towards the top, and an immense cornice, or coping, pro- 
jecting beyond the wall; while the common religious symbol, 
of the winged globe, was a conspicuous figure in front of the 
wall and above the entrance to the gateway. There were 
obelisks in Egypt, which were placed in front of the temple, 
and which were, perhaps, the earliest form of the column; but 
were the survivals from the prehistoric period, and are sup- 
posed to be connected with sun-worship. 

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Obelisks are supposed to be the survivals of the standing 
stones, which were so common in prehistoric times, and were 
always connected with the sun-worship which prevailed. 
These standing stones were connected with the open air 
temples, which were always circular in shape, and only pre- 
sented a series of triliths, arranged in the form of a horseshoe, 
with the altar in the center; but the fact that there was a mono- 
lith, or standing stone in the gateway of this temple, and that 
it was so placed as to cast a shadow into the temple and toward 
the altar at the time of the rising of the sun, at the time of the 
solstice, suggests the thought that the obelisk was a survival 
of the same worship, and that the temple of Egypt was 
devoted to sun-worship. Of course there was a great contrast 
between the temples of Egypt and these circular enclosures, 
for they are surrounded by solid walls, which are decorated by 
figures of kings and priests, and are filled with stately columns 
finished in the highest style of Egyptian art. Yet these veiy 
temples were so arranged as to catch the rays of the sun as it 
rises at the solstice. The \ery innermost recesses of the temple 
being reached by the rays, which turned the temple into a 
gigantic telescope. 

These elements, however, which were found in the different 
gateways of Babylonia, Ass)'ria and Egypt, were concentrated 
into a small compass in the gateway of Mycena;, for here we 
find different kinds of walls, representing different ages and 
styles of architecture on either side of the gateway, itself — the 
rude lintel, with a post above the lintel, a lion upon either side 
of the post, a rude form of triangular arch above the post, and 
behind the gateway we see the conical form of the "treasure 
house," which represents the primitive hut, and yet was the 
tomb of a king. The whole progress of architecture up to 
this time was concentrated into this one locality, but the 
promise and anticipation of its future is concentrated into the 
pillar, or post, above the gateway, for this is the earliest repre- 
sentative of the column. 

in. This leads us to the column, and its connection with 
the tree. It was formerly the opinion that the column was the 
representation and the survival of the wooden post which sup- 
ported the projecting roof of the primitive house, and so 
formed the portico to the house. This was a thought men- 
tioned by Ferrot and Chippiez, who have shown very clearly 
that the connecting links are to be found in the tombs of 
Midas in Phrygia and elsewhere, and assert they were trans- 
mitted from Persia to Asia Minor and Greece at an early period. 
But the opinion of Arthur Evans is that the column is the sur- 
vival of the tree, which stood in the Garden of Eden, and was 
a symbol of the presence of the divinity. The standing stones 
and dolmens were also the survival of the tree. 

The columns of Persia have capitals in the form of two- 
heided oxen, and pyramids in the form of dogs. The columns 


of Egypt have capitals in the form of the lotus blossom — buds 
and blossoms. The columns of the Greeks have capitals in 
different shapes, each order of Greek architecture being indi 
cated by the shape of the capital. The Doric capital was 
always in the form of a roundlet; the Ionic capital in the 
form of a scroll; the Cornithian in the form of an acanthus leaf; 
the Phoenician capital in the form of an animal's head. The 
American column was without a capital, but had a band about 
the middle, and served as an ornament in front of the palaces. 

None of these decide the question as to whether ihe column 
was a development from the tree, and was a religious symbol 
or not; for some would take the ground that there was an in- 
dependent origin of the column, and the tree, and the capital, 
in every country, and that each nation developed the capital 
and the column from its 
own ideas, independently 
of every other nation. 
This is certainly true, that 
the column, with its capi- 
tal, very fitly represents 
the habits and ideas of 
the people who have 
adopted it as the chief 
ornament in their archi- 
tectural structures. The 
animal-headed capital of 
the Persians suggests that 
they had to do with cat- 
tle; the fluted column of 
the Egyptians, sur- 
mounted by the capital 
in the form of a lotus 
blossom, suggests the 
thought that the lotus 
was their sacred plant, 
and was a symbol of their 
religion. But the column 
of the Greeks, which was 

so different from all others, represented the kingly power — the 
lion either side of the column, being symbols of strength and 
power. The position of the column over the gateway which 
led to the treasure houses of the king, seems to confirm this 
supposition. There was, however, no doubt, a religious element 
connected with the column and its capital, everywhere, for the 
column in its use throughout all ages and lands was more of 
an ornament than a support, and was never regarded as a mere 
mechanical contrivance, or a part of the structural develop- 

There were primitive settlements at Knossos, and a thickly 
populated region at a remote prehistoric period. This was 



during the Stone Age. Dr. Arthur Evans says: "There was a 
transitional period, when copper came into use. At this time 
there were columns and streets, and pottery was in common 
use." At Crete excavations have brought to light a series of 
primitive houses containing pre-Mycenrean pottery, also evi- 
dences of " pillar worship." Dr. Evans lighted upon a pre- 
historic palace, which he connects with the name of Minos. 
One thousand inscribed tablets in script, partly hieroglyphic 
and partly alphabetic, were exhumed. A bridge and a road 
were discovered, connecting Knossos with other cities of great 
antiquity. There was a high artistic development at Knossos 
in prehistoric times. The existence in Crete of a prehistoric 
system of vviiting, is maintained. Pottery identical with that 
at Hissarlik was found in the early strata. Associated with 
celts, are perforated maces, obsidian knives, spindle whorls and 
bone implements. A transition period occurred when copper 
came into use. Pillars of Mycenaean form, sloping downward, 
narrower at the bottom than at the top, made of wood, were 
found; also a corridor, priestly forms wearing long robes, a 
central clay area, the survival of a prehistoric dwelling, were 
also disco\ered by Dr. Evans, who says: 

Among the great monuments of the Mycenaean world hitherto made 
known, it is remarkable that so little is found with reference to religious 
beliefs. The great wealth of the tombs, the rich contents of the pit graves, 
the rock-cut chambers, the massive vaults of the bee-hive tombs, are all so 
many evidences of a highly developed cult of " departed spirits." 

The pit altar of the Acropolis at Mycenae was dedicated to the "cult 
of the ancestors of the household." In the central area of Knossos, how- 
ever, there has been brought to light two rectangular altars, showing a 
special relation to the god of the " Double Axe." The colossal rock-hewn 
altar at the mouth of the Idaean cave revealed the same thing. Through- 
out Crete, a series of caves contain votive and sacrificial deposits. In the 
prehistoric city of Gaulos, in Crete, we have the remains of a shrine con- 
taining a sacred tree; also a doorway showing the sanctity of the trilith as 
a ritual doorway. This doorway of the enclosure may have had before it, 
a sacred pillar; while within the sacred shrine was the tree itself, spread- 
ing its boughs over the low walls and lintel. Within this, was a rock-cut 
cistern, showing that a ritual watering of sacred trees was the regular fea- 
ture of this form of worship. 

In Mycena; the tree is associated with the sacred pillar. The cult of 
trees and pillars of rude stones maybe regarded as identical forms of wor- 
ship, but illustrate the progress of architecture as connected with religion. 
The presence of a tree or bush indicated the possession of the material 
object by the '" Numen " or divinity, exactly as sun worship will account for 
the rough pyramidal stone, often seen so close to the altar, and in reality 
would account for the obelisk being placed in front of the pyramid tomb. 
The cult of Mvcenasan times consisted in the worship of sacred stones, 
pillars and trees. The whispering of the leaves of the trees at Dodonia, 
was the actual voice of the divinity. In the Druidical worship of the tree, 
the menhir was the symbol of the divinity; it was a survival of the tree. 

The prehistoric stone fence at RoUright guarded the temple enclosure, 
but the king-stone, is the tree. The Uiktean caves contained a stalactite 
in the shape of a tree. The sanctity of the portal and the doorway, in the 
primitive cult, is very general, and is associated with the sacred tree. The 
doorway, in a later architecture, like the dolmen, in Italy served as the dwell- 
.ing place of the deity, making the threshold to be always regarded as sacred. 


The Myctnrean column may have been derived from the tree, which 
was sacred; its downward tapering distinguishing the Greek ftom the 
Egyptian column. The Egyptian obelisk tapered from base to top, and 
resembled the menhir, while the earliest Greek column tapered from top 
to bottom, and resembled the tree with its branches. 

There is no trace of shafts or capitals at Knossos, though the shape of 
the shafts or columns has the downward taper, after the Mycenaean style. 

The most interesting feature of the column and gateway at 
Mycenpe, is that they not only represent the survival of all the 
earliest elements of architecture, but they also represent the 
earliest form of the arch. Here, the arch is only a triangular 
opening, above a lintel, the column resting upon the lintel, but 
supporting what might be called a substitute for the k^^ystone, 
and all together serving to distribute the weight, the wall on 
the two sides, and the pier and lintel and the column, receiving 
the weight, and together bearing the strain. But the principle 
of the true arch is lacking. 

This leads us to the subject of the arch. It was formerly 
the opinion that the earliest form of the arch was the triangle, 
the very one presented in this gatewa}'. Recent explorations 
in Babylonia, have, however, brought to light an arch made of 
brick, which has the keystone, and so is a true arch; and Dr. 
Hilprecht claims that it was executed about 40CO B. C, and 
was built over an aqueduct or drain, but was fifteen feet below 
Naram Sins pavement. This arch presents peculiarities which 
are of special interest, provided it was built at the time assigned 
to it. Dr. Hilprecht says: 

It was constructed of well-baked brick, measuring 12 x 2'^ inches, laid 
on the prmciple of radiating voussoirs. The curve of the arch was effected 
by wedge-shaped joints of simple clay mortar, used to cement the bricks. 
On the top of its crown, was a crushed terra-cotta pipe, intended to give 
exit to the ram water. It is supposed that the tunnel, which was used for 
a drain, was made to support all of the superincumbent mass, by this 
remarkable arch. The walls of the tunnel were built with remarkable care, 
the lower courses being placed flat-wise, while the upper courses were up 
and down, like the books on a shelf. 

The lowest real brick structure was about thirty feet .ibove the undis- 
turbed soil; in other words, about the level of Naram Sm's pavement, in 
the temple mound. A corbelled arch of crude bricks, and a vaulted celler 
of burned bricks, the latter about twelve by eight feet in length and breadth, 
were discovered somewhere at a low level m the same mounds. From 
general indications, I should ascribe them to about 2500 B. C. They give 
evidence to the fad that arches and vaults were by no means uncommon in 
ancient Nippur. 

The city became an especial place of worship, the temple court pro- 
vided with a solid pavement and high walls. It presented this character 
for over 3,000 years. Nine strata can be distinguished, more or less accu- 
rately, in the temple court. The debris constituting the different strata, 
representing nearly 3,500 years of history, and including the pavement of 
Naram Sin, measures only from seventeen to nineteen feet in the temple 



Stone circles may be classed among the earliest and most 
primitive of architectural structures, though they have been 
ascribed to the latest of the prehistoric ages. They have been 
the objects of stud\- by archaeologists for man\' years, but have 
been and still are very mysterious, as their origin and use are 

There have been various opinions advanced in reference to 
them, and many fanciful theories have been presented. The 
first theory which gained any extended support, was that they 
were erected by the Druids, and for a time they were called 
Druidical circles. This theor\' was adopted by the famous 
antiquarians Stukeley, Bryant, Aubrey and, Maurice, all of 
whom wrote extensively upon the symbolism which was con- 
tained in them. It was an interesting theory, as worship of 
ancient rude stones in consecrated groves and the sanguinary 
sacrifice of men and beasts has a strange fascination about it. 
Maurice says: 

The Indo-Scythians performed their sanguinary sacrifices under groves 
of oak, of astonishing extent and of profoundest gloom. With the Scythians, 
a tali and stately tree with wide-spreading arms was the majestic emblem 
of God. Their perverted imaginations conceived the majesty and attributes 
to be best represented by gigantic sculpture and massive symbols. These 
grotesfjue and ponderous stones were placed in the centre of the most hal- 
lowed groves, and it is probable that they placed them, as we find them 
arranged in the Temple of Stonehenge, in a circular manner; the sun be 
ing the general object of ancient adoration, whose temples were always 
erected in a circular form, like those of the Persians at Persepolis. They 
were open at the top, for like them, the Scythians esteemed it impious to 
confine the deity, who pervades all nature, whose temple is earth and sky, 
within the narrow limits of a covered shrine, erected by mortal hands. A 
deity was supposed to reside amidst the solitary grandeur of those rugged 
misshapen rocks; superstition aided a disturbed imagination to give the 
airy phantom a form gigantic as his imagined temple; to adorn him with 
the symbols of vengeance and terror, and invest him with attributes and 
properties congenial with their awe and apprehension. Hence it arose, 
that, with this species of rock devotion, rites of a sombre and melancholy 
nature were perpetually blended, and that their altars were stained with 
such torrents of human as well as bestial blood. 

It was a place of blood and horror, abounding with altars reeking witli 
the gore of human victims, by which all the trunlcs of the lofty and eternal 
oaks, which ^compased it, were dyed a crimson color; black and turbid 
waters roiled through it in many a winding stream; no soul ever entered the 
forlorn abode, except the priest, who, at noon and at midnight, with pale- 
ness on brow and tremor in his step, went thither to celebrate the horrible 
mysteries in honor of that terrific deity, whose aspect he yet dreaded more 
than death to behold.* 

• " Indian Antiquities or Dissertations," by Maurice. 


On May Eve, the Druids made prodigious fires on these cairns, which 
being every one in sight of some other, could not but afford a glorious show 
over the whole nation. The Druids on their great festivals wore on their 
garments or carried in their hands, a crescent of gold, silver or other metal. 
This ornament has long glittered on the banners of the East. It was when 
the moon was six days old that they marched in solemn procession together, 
and it was from that precise period that they began to count anew the 
months and years which formed the celebrated cycle of that duration. 
Their veneration of the astronomical symbol of the crescent may be also 
regarded as an additional proof that those crescent-like temples in 
Anglesea and Orkney, which some have mistaken for amphitheatres, were 
really temples to the moon. 

This explanation by the old writers appealed to the imagi- 
nation and was very popular, as popular as the theory that the 
mounds were built by the lost tribes of Israel, has been in 
America, and as difficult to supplant. 

Later on, the subject was taken up again, and an explana- 
tion was given which went to the other extreme. The stone 
circles were regarded by some as quite modern. Some of them 
were built after the time of the Romans. This was the theory 
that Fergusson advanced. The interpretation given by Fergusson 
was that the circles were designed as burial places, and possibly 
marked the boundaries of ancient tumuli; the standing stones 
were the monuments which were erected on battlefields in 
memory of those who had fallen. He maintained that the 
alignments at Carnac, in France, marked the place of 
struggle on the battlefield, and the dolmens the burial places 
of the chiefs, and that the circles and standing stones belonged 
to the Roman period. 

"The standing stones at Carnac represented the march; 
those at St. Basle, the position before the battle; those at 
Erdovan, the scene of the final struggle for the heights, and the 
tombs scattered over the plains and between the alignments, 
the graves of those who fell in battle. The date was between 
the overthrow of the Roman power by Maximus in 383 and the 
Sixth Century A. D." 

Another explanation of Stonehenge was that given by 
Jeffrey of Monmouth, that it was erected by Merlin to com- 
memorate those who fell, treacherously slain by Hengist in 462. 

Fergusson objected to the theory that they were used as 
temples, and says: 

What kind of a worship could be performed in them P Assuming a cere- 
mony to take place in the centre of either of the circles; the double low of 
stones is so placed as to obstruct the view in any direction, no sanctuary, 
no altar, no procession path, no priests' house. In India, we have temples 
as big, but their history is written in their faces. There is a small shrine 
with a narrow enclosure and a small gateway, but for some cause it grows; 
a second enclosure is added to contain new accommodations for pilgrims 
and new halls and new residences for priests. 

The description of the enclosures and circles, as given by 
Fergusson, is very valuable, but his explanation is not satisfac- 
tory. Recently, the archaeologists have gone back to a modified 


form of the old theor}-, that the stone circles were used for sun 
worship and that they were oriented. This is virtually the 
theory advanced by Mr. A. L. Lewis, who has compared them 
with the structures erected in Mashonaland. He has, also, in 
an article in the American Antiquarian, shown that there was 
always some peak in the neighborhood, or some massive stone 
or mound, outside of the circles, which caught the rays of the 
sun when rising, at the time of the solstices, and it may be 
inferred from this that the circles were used for special religious 
ceremonies at such times. 

In reference to this, we may cite the testimon\- of Fergusson 
himself, who shows that many of the circles were attended with 
these prominent gnomons. 'Long Meg and Her Daughters' 
is situated a half mile from Penrith, and consist of 68 stones, 
330 feet in diameter. Outside of the circle is ' Long Meg,' 12 
feet high; on the inside are two cairns. Stanton Drew consists 
of one circle, 378 by 345 feet in diameter; the second is 129 feet 
in diameter; a third, 96 feet; attached to the circles are 
avenues, and a large stone called the ' King Stone' resembles 
the ' Ring Stone ' at Abury, the ' Long Meg ' at Southhold, and 
the ' Friar's Heel ' at Stonehenge." 

Fergusson speaks of the distribution of stone monuments. 
He says that there are 20,000 in Algeria. In northern Africa, 
there are concentric circles, arranged in a series of steps with 
little towers, 7 to 40 feet in diameter, and triple circles with 
dolmens in the centre. In India, there are dolmens with two 
circles surrounding them. There are circles in western Asia, 
in Brittany, also in Scotland, the Orkneys, Isle of Man, and 
Isle of Skye. The finest circle is at Stennis, which is composed 
of 12 stones 15 to 18 feet high, and contains a dolmen. Beyond 
the stones is a ditch, and surrounding the whole, a wall of 
earth, 240 feet in diameter. On the Isle of Man. at Mule 
Hill, is a circle containing eight cists, with a gap between them, 
like Arbor Low. At Boscawen there are five circles. In Cum- 
berland is a circle 100 feet in diameter, composed of 44 stones, 
nnd an outer circle composed of 14 stones; four cairns or 
mounds being inside of the smaller circles. 

.Sir John Lubbock differs from Fergusson and calls the 
circles "open air temples," and refers to Abury and Stone- 
henge as specimens. He pronounces Abury the greatest of 
all so-called Druidical monuments. He says: 

It is, indeed, much less known than Stonehenge; and yet, though a 
ruder, it must have been originally a grander temple. According to Aubrey, 
"Abury did as much exceed Stonehenge as a cathedral does a parish 
church." \\Tien perfect, it consisted of a circular ditch and embankment, 
containing an area of 28>^ acres; inside the ditch was a circle of great 
stones, and within this, again, two smaller circles, formed by a double row 
of smaller stones, standing side by side. From the outer embankment 
started two long winding avenues of stone, one of which went in the direc- 
tion of Beckhampton, and the other in that of Kennet, where it ended in 
another double circle. Stukeley supposed that the idea of the whole was 
that of a snake transmitted through a circle; the Kennet circle representing 


the head, the Beckhanipton avenue, the tail. Midway between the two 
avenues, stood Silbury Hill, the largest artificial mound in Great Britain, 
measuring not less than 170 feet in height. From its position, it appears to 
form part of the general plan, and though it has been twice examined, no 
primary interment has been found in it. On the whole, this appears to 
have been at one time the finest megalithic ruin in Europe; but, unfor- 
tunately for us, the pretty little village of Abury, like some beautiful para- 
site, has grown up at the expense, and in the midst, of the ancient temple, 
and out of 650 great stones, not above 20 are still standing. 

It is evident that Stonehenge was at one time, a spot of great sanctity. 
A glance at the ordnance map will show that tumuli cluster in great num- 
bers around, within sight of it; within a radius of three miles there are about 
three hundred burial mounds, while the rest ot the country is comparatively 
free from them. 

Both Abury and Stonehenge were, I believe, used as temples, homeot 
the stone circles, however, have been proved to be burial places. In fact, 
a complete burial place may be described as a dolmen, covered by a 
tumulus, and surrounded by a stone circle. Often, however, we have only 
the dolmen, and sometimes, again, onlv the stone circle. The celebrated 
monument of Carnac, in Brittanv. consists of 11 rows of unhewn stones, 
which differ greatly, both in size and height, the largest being 22 feet above 
ground, while some are quite small. It appears that the avenues originally 
extended for several miles, but at present they are very imperfect, the 
stones having been cleared away in places for agricultural improvements. 
Most of the great tumuli in Brittany probably belong to the Stone Age, and 
I am, therefore, disposed to regard Carnac as having been erected during 

the same period. 

Megalithic erections, resembling those which are generally, but with- 
out sufficient reason ascribed to the Druids, are found in very distant coun- 
tries. In Moab, De Saulcy observed rude stone avenues, and other monu- 
ments, which he compares to Celtic dolmens. Lieut. Oliver, also, 
mentions that the Hovas of Madagascar to this day erect monoliths and 
stone tombs, closelv resembling those of western Europe. Mr. Maurice 
was, I believe, the first to point out, that in some parts of India, there are 
various monuments of stone, which, in the words of Colonel Yule, "lecall 
strongly the mysterious, solitary or clustered mcnuments of unknown 
origin, so long the puzzle and delight of antiquarians, which abound in our 
native country, and are seen here and there in all parts of Europe and 
western Asia. Mr. Fergusson goes further, and argues with great ingenuity 
that the " Buddhist architecture in India, as practised from the thud century 
B. c. to the seventh a. d., is essentially tumular, circular, and external, thus 
possessing the three great characteristics of all the so-called Uruidical 

It is a very remarkable fact that, even to the present day, some of the 
hill tribes in India continue to erect menhirs, cromlechs, and other combi- 
nations of gigantic stones, sometimes singlv, sometimes in rows, sometimes 
in circles, in'either case very closely resembling those found in western 

That the circles were open-air temples is shown in the fact 
that a house built and set apart for the purposes of worship was, 
according to Tsountas, "an unfamiliar thing in the days of 
Homer, nor was it a necessity of primitive religion." t 

Jacob Grimm says: " In the oldest expressions in Germany, 
the temple cannot be disassociated from the Holy Grove. Temple 
and forest are convertible terms. What we conceive as a house, 
built and walled in, passes as we go further into earlier times, 

• " Prehistoric Times," by Sir John Lubbock, Bart., pp. 119-127. 
f'The Mycenxan Age," Tsountas and Chi.itus, p. 308. 


into the idea of holy ground, hedged in and surrounded by trees, 
never touched by the hand of man." 

Tsountas says: " After all, the altar in the house or in the 
open air, must have satisfied the requirements of the Mycenaean 
Age. The altar was either a simple heap ot stones, or a more 
regular structure, like that on a painted tablet, in either case, 
raised to a considerable height above the ground." 

The altar discovered in the courtyard at Tiryns, is a case in 
hand. Altars have been discovered in Westmoreland, England, 
and with long passage ways of standing stones leading to them. 
As to the orientation of the circles, there seems to be mere un- 
certainty. Still, the archaeologists, such as Mr. A. L. Lewis, Mr. 
Flinders Petrie, and most of the Egyptologists, Mr. Norman 
Lockyer the astronomer included, maintained that they were. 
Mr. A. L. Lewis has given much attention to the subject, and has 
read many articles before the Anthropological Institute of Great 
Britain. An article recently published in the American Anti- 
quarian contains a resume of his studies. 

There are certain antiquities which, though not absolutely 
confined to Great Britam, are more numerous there, than in any 
other part of the world, and are of greater size and importance 
there than in all the rest of the world, so far as it has been 
archzeologically explored. These are the circles of stones, ot 
which Sionehenge is best known, especially to Americans. 

These circles may be divided into three classes: i. Hut circles, 
or continuous circular walls, seldom more than three feet high, and 
generally formed of blocks as thick and broad as they are long, 
which are the lower parts of prehistoric dwellings ; these vary in 
diameter from ten to thirty feet, the larger ones having often had 
central supports for the roof in addition to the circular walls. 
2. Small circles of rather thin flat stones set on edge, which have 
been placed round the bases of sepulchral tumuli, either close to 
them as retaining walls, or as fences or ornaments at a little dis- 
tance from them. 3. Circles of separate upright stones, which 
are generally much larger than the circles of the first and second 
classes, for their diameters vary from 60 to 380 feet, while the 
great circle of Abury was at least i.ioo feet in diameter. The 
stones of which circles of this kind are composed also vary in 
size, from pillars less than three feet high and a foot or so in 
width and thickness, to monoliths twenty feet high, six feet wide 
and three feet thick, like the largest at Stonehenge ; or masses 
fifteen feet high and broad, and six feet thick, like some of those 
which still remain at Abury. Some of the stones of these circles 
are more or less rudely shaped, but most of them show no sign 
of working. 

The present article will be confined to the consideration of 
circles of the third class, and of their possible objects, with regard 
to which archaeologists are by no means agreed, for, while circles 


ot the first class have clearly formed parts of dwellings, and those 
of the second class are unanimously admitted to have formed 
parts of tombs, there are points about those of the third class 
which are differently interpreted by different writers, and regarded 
as purely accidental and meaningless by others. 

Of all circles, large or small, the best known and most numer- 
ously visited is Stonehenge (eight miles from Salisbury). The 
outer circle at Stonehenge is 97 feet in diameter inside, and, 
when (if ever) complete, consisted of thirty stones, each about 
thirteen feet high, the tops of which were connected by stones 
laid across the spaces between them, which stones were kept in 


place by projections on the tops of the upright stones which fitted 
into holes made in the horizontal stones. Within this circle was 
another of small upright stones, which, if ever complete, num- 
bered about forty-four. Within these again were five groups of 
three stones each, two upright supporting one horizontal, the 
latter bsing kept in place by tenons and mortices cut in the solid 
stone, like those of the outer circle ; these five groups of 
trilithons were arranged in the form of a horseshoe, the highest 
being to the southwest, with two lower ones on each side, and an 
opening nearly forty feet wide between them to the northeast. 
Inside this horseshoe of trilithons was another, consisting of nine- 
teen upright stones, from 10 to 12^ feet high (the highest being in 


front of the highest trilithon), with an opening to the northeast 
coinciding with that of the horseshoe of trih'thons. Within these, 
and in front of the great central trilithon, was a flat stone, more 
than i6 feet long and 2]/, wide, which is usually called the 
" altar stone." A trench and low bank surround the circle at a dis- 
tance of about lOO feet ; an avenue, marked out by earlhern banks, 
leads from the trench in a northeasterly direction, and at a dis- 
tance of 96 feet along this avenue is a large upright stone, with 
a pointed, but unworked top, known as the " Friar's Heel," 
which is in such a position that anyone standing on the "altar 
stone " on the morning of midsummer day may see the sun rise 
just over the top of the "Friar's Heel." Some say that this stone 
has no connection with the circle, but marks probably an isolated 
burial; but, if the stone were not there at all, the arrangement of 

/^ ^■'""'"'^l^uiW^^^ 


AlUKV A(C(.1K1)1 N(,\ Til sTLKKLi:\. 

the circles and of the avenue would still point unmistakeably in 
the direction of the midsummer sunrise. 

Though I have omitted many details which have caused 
much discussion among archaeologists and others, I have 
described Stonehenge at considerable length, because it is unique 
as regards the cap stones connecting the upright stones, and in 
some other particulars ; and because it combines characteristics 
of different localities in a way no other circle does, and gives a 
key to the object of other and. as I think', older ones, for my im- 
pression is that Jeffrey of Monmouth's statement that Stone- 
henge was set up as a memorial of some British nobles treach- 
erously murdered by the Saxons, is very likel}' to be correct. If 
so, it was probably erected in its present form on the site of an 
older circle, by Britons, who, though Christians themselves, had 
some knowledge of the rites and ceremonies of pagan times and 
adopted this form of memorial to show their connection with 
the pre-Roman inhabitants, and it may in that case have been the 
only solar temple in which the sun was never adored. 


If the " Friar's Heel" at Stonehenge were really set up to 
mark the midsummer sunrising point, there should, it would 
seem, be some indication of the same point in other circles, and 
it is to this that I have directed particular attention, with the fol- 
lowing results : 

Single stones are to be found, or are known to have existed, 
to the northeast of the following circles: The Rollrich, near 
Chipping- Norton in Oxfordshire; "Mitchell's Fold," Shrop- 
shire; Winterbourne, Wiltshire; Winterbourne, Dorsetshire; 
Scorhill on Dartmoor, and Dance Maen, near Penzance, Corn- 
wall. At Abury in Wiltshire, and Arbor Lowe in Derbyshire, 
the circles were surrounded by high banks which shut out the 
horizon from the view of those inside them, and at both places a 
shrine, technically called a "cove," consisting of 3 stones forming 3 
sides of a square, | | the open side of which faced northeast, 
stood in the centre. At Stanton Drew, near Bristol, there is a 
group of three circles and some other stones which are arranged 
in lines with each other, and apparently at carefully proportioned 
distances, some of which may have a symbolical meaning; in 
one of these lines a circle occupies the position to the northeast 
of the principal circle, which is elsewhere occupied by a single 
stone. A "cove" similar to that at Abury stands near these circles. 

Near Penmaenmawr in North Wales there are two fallen 
stones northeast of a circle, but being in a valley they would not 
be of much use as indicators of the sun-rising point. However 
they direct the eye to a group of three hills beyond. At 
Mitchell's Fold in Shropshire there is, or was, also a stone in a 
northeasterly direction, but the sun-rising point is occupied by a 
high hill, beyond which, in the same line, and at an equal dis 
tance, is another circle, called the " Hoarstone," or Marshpool 
Circle, beyond which, again, is a group of three low hills. The 
observation of these facts led me to think that in hilly countries 
the circle builders had (very wisely) placed their circles in such 
a position that some prominent hill top should fulfil the function 
of indicator, which on level ground was discharged by a single 
stone. I am now inclined to think that the order of precedence 
may have been the reverse, and that the hill may have been the 
first to be made use of, the single stone being set up where a hill 
was not available. Be this as it may, hills take the place of stones 
to the northeast of circles not only in Wales and Shropshire, as 
already stated, but at Fernworthy on Dartmoor, at Stannon, at 
Leaze, at the Trippet Stones and Stripple Stones, and at Bosked- 
nan, all in Cornwall. In Cumberland, again, there is another 
variation; instead of the stone or hill being to the northeast of 
the circle, the circle is to the northeast of the stone or hill, but 
the line of orientation remains the same — southwest to northeast. 
Thus, at " Long Meg" and her " Daughters," the single stone 
called " Long Meg " is southwest of the circle formed by the 








other stones (the "Daughters"); while at Swinside the most 
prominent hill near — Black Combe — is southwest from the 
circle, and a group of three smaller hills is northeast from it. 

These statements by Mr. A. L. Lewis apply only to the 
Stone Circles of Great Brittain. They conform to the com- 
mon opinion that these circles were erected for two or three 
purposes; first, to mark off the burial places and separate 
them from the surrounding area, very much as does the 
fence, around the modern grave yard: second, to serve as 
an open air temple, the openings into them being so as to 
admit of large processions but the center being used as 
altars or places of sacrifice; third, to enable the people to 
watch the course of the sun and to mark the time of the sol- 
stices, or in other words, to serve as calendar stones on a large 
scale. We may say that the English Archaeologists have rec- 
ognized all three uses in the stone circles of Great Britian. 

Joseph Anderson says: 

The circles of erect stones which mark off the grave f^round from the 
surrounding area, are memorials of moral significance, whether they be re- 
garded as marks of filial piety and family affection, or of more public 
sympathy and appreciation of worth. In all the instances the circle of 
stone setting, what ever may be the precise form which it assunies, has 
been found to be the external sign by which the burial ground is distin- 
guished from the surrounding area. Like the cairn, it is the visible mark 
of the spot of earth to which the remains of the dead have been consigned. 

The circles in France differ from those of Great Brittain 
in that they generally were used to mark off the graves from 
the surrounding country. 

The plate given herewith shows a large number of stone 
circles, cromlechs, stone cairns, dolmens, menhirs and circles in 
the Necropolis of Brittany. It will be noticed that some of 
these are surrounded by small stone circles; that the standing 
stones or menhirs are arranged in a circular form, but there is 
no large circle such as is found at Stonehenge and Avebury, 
and yet it may be, that the alignments served somewhat the 
same purpose as the large circles. 

The niost interesting circle is that which was found b>- Dr. 
Schliemann while exploring the tombs at Mycen;e. These 
tombs were arranged in the form of a circle. They were not 
used as an open air temple, but may have served the purpose 
of a grave circle. 

Tsountas says: 

"The MvcemtJ.n tombs are of two general tvpes. The first is that of 
the oblong pit, sunk vertically in the ground, very much like the modern 
grave; the second includes the bee hive or tholus-structure and the rock- 
chamber, approached alike by an avenue (dromos) cut horizontally into a 
hill side. It is the second which offers the great monuments of sepulchral 
architecture; but the shaft graves are obviously earlier in origin, as they 
were the first and are still the foremost in their contribution to our knowl- 
edge of the age to which they belong. They are therefore entitled to the 
first consideration. 

If the visitor to Mycenae enter the Citadel by the Lions' gate, and 
turn to the south, twenty paces more will bring him to the entrance of 


a unique circular enclosure. It is eighty-seven feet in diameter and 
fencea in by a double row of limestone slabs set vertically in two concen- 
tric rings. These rings are about three feet apart, and the space between 
them was originally hlled with small stones and earth and then covered 
with cross-slabs of tlie same kind with the uprights, six of which were 
found in place.* 

The result is a wall some four and one-half feet thick and three to nve 
feet high, the variation being due to the slope of the rock from east to 
west; for this curious ring-wall does not enclose a level space. On the 
contrary, the ground falls off so abruptly that on the west a Cyclopean re- 
taining wall over eighteen feet high (at the maximum) had to be built for 
the support of the terrace, and even this wall is still two feet below the 
level of the native rock in the eastern part of the enclosure. 

The plate showsthecharacter of this circle and the cyclopean 
walls surrounding it. but does not show the altar which was 
found over the center of the fourth tomb. This altar accord- 
ing to Dr Schliemann consisted of an almost circular mass of 
Cyclopaean masonry with a large round opening in the form 
of a well. It was found four feet high and measured seven 
feet from north to south and five and one-fourth feet from 
east to west. It shows that close above the grave circle a 
place of sacrifice had been established so that what-ever we 
may say about the graves themselves there was a form of wor- ■ 
ship observed in this place, which perhaps resembled that at 
Stonehenge in Great Britain. The rich offerings of gold 
and silver, and the style and decoration of the ornaments show 
that it belonged to a period later than the stone age for they 
revealed a wealth and splendor such as only could have been 
displayed by a kingly race. 

We turn now from these circles of the old world to those 
found in the new world, with the special object of tracing the 
analogies between them. We may say that there are in Peru 
certain stone circles, which very closely resemble those in Al- 
geria, for they are arranged in terraces and furnish evidence of 
having been used in connection with sun worship. The near cir- 
cle is ten feet in diameter, the further one has a grooved out-ly- 
ing platform one hundred and fifty feet in diameter. The two 
show the prevalence of sun worship. Another locality in Bolivia 
presents a square two story burial tower (Chulpa) with hill fort- 
ress (Pucura) in the distance situated east of Lake Titicaca. 

The most interesting locality where circles and circular enclo- 
sures are found is in the state of Ohio which was the center of 
the mound builders works. Here we find the burial mounds 
and altar mounds without circles, but there are many mounds 
and so called temple mounds, which were surrounded by earth 
circles with a ditch upon the inside of the wall and a platform 
surrounding the mound, and a single entrance through the 
wall and across the ditch giving access to the burial place or 
altar. There are also earth circles, which were used only as 

•These covering slab-s (according to Schlieminn) "are firmly fitted in and consolidated by 
means of notches, forming a mortise and tenon joint" (Mycenae p. 124). There was also an 
avenue to the grave circle reminding us of those at Avebiiry. 


village enclosures but in certain cases mounds have been 
seen occupying- the very center of the village enclosure 
with a stone pavement surrounding them, showing that these 
were used either as a place of worship or burial too sacred 
for intrusion. The most notable and interesting of all the 
circles found in America are those near Portsmouth, Ohio. 
These are interesting because they so remarkably resemble 
the circles at Stonehenge and Avebury in Great Britain. 
They were explored when they were in good state of preser- 
vation by several parties. Squier and Davis gave a descrip- 
tion of them as follows: 

'The work consists of three divisions or groups, extending for eight 
miles along the Ohio River. Two of the groups are on the Kentucky side 
of the river, the remaining one. together with the larger portion of the con- 


necting embankment is on the Ohio shore. The avenues or covered ways, 
extendmg from one work to the other, have induced many to assign them 
to a military origin and a design to protect communication between the 
different groups. The parallel embankments measure about four feet in 
height by twenty feet base. They are not far from one hundred and sixty 
feet apart. They run in three lines from the central group, one leading to 
the southeast, one to the southwest, and one to the northwest, each one of 
them pointing to important works on the opposite sides of the river. The 
total length of the parallels is eight miles, giving sixteen miles of embank- 
ment. The group upon the third terrace seems to be the grand center from 
which the parallel lines radiate. The two crescent or horse-shoe-shaped 
walls constitute the first striking feature which presents itself. Thev are 
of about the same size and shape, and measure eighty feet in length by 
seventy in breadth. Enclosing them in part is a circular wall, about five 
feet high. A mound twenty-eight feet high, one hundred and ten feet base, 
truncated and surrounded by low circumvallation, stands near, from the 
summit of which a full view of the entire group may be had. The group 


on the Kentucky shore consists of four concentric circles, placed at irregu- 
lar intervals in respect to each other, and cat at right angles by four broad 
avenues which bear very nearly to the cardinal points. A large mound is 
placed in the center; it is truncated and terraced anJ has a graded way 
leading to the summit. On the supposition that this work was in some way 
connected with the religious rites and ceremonies of the builders, this 
mound must have afforded a most conspicuous place for the observer. It 
is easy, vvhile standing on its summit, to people it with a strange priesthood 
of ancient superstition. About a mile to the west of this work is a small, 
circular work of exquisite symmetry and proportion. It consists of an 
embankment of earth five feet high, with an interior ditch twenty-five feet 
across by six feet deep, enclosing an area ninety feet m diameter, in the cen- 
ter of which rises a mound eight feet high by forty feet base. A narrow 
gateway through the parapet and a causeway over the ditch lead to the en- 
closed mound. A singular work occurs opposite the old mouth of the 
Scioto on the Kentucky side of the Ohio River. The principle work is an 
exact rectangle, eight hundred feet square. The walls are twelve feet 
high, by thirtv-five or fortv feet base, except on the east where thev arise 

w llEVVtT. 




above the center of the area about fifty feet. The most singular feature is 
the outwork which consists of parallel walls leading to the northeast and 
southwest, each about two thousand one hundred feet long. The parallel 
to the northeast starts from the center of the main work and reaches to the 
end of the plateau or terrace. To the left of the plateau is a singular re- 
doubt or circular enclosure. The embankment of it is heavy, and the 
ditch, interior to the wall, deep and wide, and the measure from the bottom 
of the ditch to the top of the wall is twelve or fifteen feet. The enclosed 
oval area is only sixty feet wide by a hundred and ten feet long. The ob- 
ject of the enclosure is difficult to divine. 

Dr. Hempstead who was a resident at Portsmouth, and was 
familiar with the works, has given the measurements a little 
more carefully, and has suggested many things in reference io 
fheir orientation. He says: 

"The chief peculiarity of the works is that the group in the center is 
situated on an eminence three hundred and twenty-eight feel above the 
water level and overlooks the valleys of the two rivers, the Ohio and the 
Scioto. The circle here has four openings, facing northeast and southeast, 
and northwest and southwest. Within th*^ circle are two horseshoe for- 
rftations, twelve feet high and measuring one hundred and five feet at the 
open ends. The parallel embankments begin here and and run for about 


four miles southeast to the river, and are continued on the opposite side 
till they reach a large circular work which was probably a temple of the 
sun. The outer circle of these works measures six hundred and forty feet, 
the second one about four hundred feet, the third aboutthree hundred feet. 
In the center of the innermost circle is a mound which rises forty-five feet 
above the surrounding surface. It has a spiral graded way leading to the 
top, which measures fifty feet east to west and seventy-five feet north to 
south, This was probably the high altar, and ceremonies performed on it 
could be readily witnessed from the surrounding mounds. The "'temple" 
consists ol three embankments pierced by open ways leading north, south, 
east and west. A center mound and four ditches, the last to be passed 
only by the road leading from the "citadel," the entire length of which was 
protected by parallel walls, About a mile and a half west of the temple 
is a circular embankment about six feet high, and an inner ditch twelve 
feet deep, It has a center mound about seven feet high and the entrance 
to it is ftom the south. Beside it is an enclosure in the form of an irregular 

Embankment at Turkey cr^E-k 


hexagon. It measures one hundred and twenty feet by seventy-five feet. 
The embankmeut is four feet high and the ditch three feet deep. There 
are two entrances, facing northwest and southeast. All these have prob- 
ably some connection with the temple." 

Dr. Hempstead's view of the orientation was derived from 
the relative bearing of the so-called temple and the central 
group on the upper terrace where there was an altar and the 
horse shoes. He says: 

"The temple when viewed from the group on the upper terrace on the 
north side of the river would mark the spot at which the sun arose and a 
square enclosure situated northwest would mark the sunset of the summer 
solstice. This last enclosure has also four entrances like those of the tem- 
ple face north, south, east and west. This enclosure is on the west side of 
the Scioto River' There are also other parallel embankments, running 
from the central circle and horse shoe southwest terminating at the river 
but expanded so as to form a considerable enclosure, with small mounds 
constructed at the ends as if to lortifv the entrances. Across the river 
and nearly facing the end of these parallels, is what has been known as 
the "Old Fort." A careful examination of this work will satisfy any one 
that it was never intended as a protection against enemies from without 


C .-■ 

but was calculated to keep any thing within, after it' had once been de- 
coyed or placed there. The whole work is commanded from the hills; 
the wall on the outside is only two or three feet high. An enemy having 
gained this eminence could annoy those within from all parts of the em- 
bankments. There are many strong reasons lor believing that the enclo- 
sure was intended to entrap the large animals which roamed over the hills 
and ranged through the valleys at the time. The design of these circles 
and enclosures is difficult to determine but the general opinion is that they 
were erected for religious purposes, and considering the fact that sun wor- 
ship was prevalent among the Mound-builders of this region, it is not un- 
likely that the enclosure on the southwest side was designed to keep cap- 
tives taken in war, and that the whole group was designed for reli^^ious 
ceremonies, among which was the sacrifice of human victims, captives 
taken in war, as an offering to the sun. 

Comparing these 
works at Ports- 
mouth with those at 
Avebury in Eng- 
land, we find that 
the large circles 
which include the 
horse shoes corre- 
spond to the large 
circle near Silbury 
Hill, that is the 
large circle which 
contains two other 
circles. The con- 
centric circle which 
contains theso-call- 


corresponds to the 

circle at Kennet. The enclosure at the mouth of the Sci- 
oto corresponds to the work at Beckhampton, and the cov- 
ered ways which connect these circles correspond with 
the alignments of standing stones which run from the 
large circle in the two directions, one toward Beckhampton, 
the other toward Kennet. The space between the parallel 
ways and the Ohio river corresponds with that at Avebury in- 
cluded between the large circle and the small stream, in the 
midst of which rises the artificial mound called Sillbury Hill. 
These make important resemblances, though they do not prove 
an identity of form or design. They, however, suggest that 
there were important ceremonies which were connected with 
a form of sun worship which had many points of resemblance. 

M^,.r^ i, to s-,, 



We have now passed over the various structures which 
were erected during the pre-historic age. and have seen the 
progress which vvas made during that age. It will bs noticed 
that none of these structures reached the stage in which ar- 
chitecture, technically considered, could be ascribed* to them; 
for they are in no way ornamented, and do not present any of 
the architectural principles. Some of them may have indeed 
anticipated those principles in their form and appearance; for 
the standing stones have the forms of columns; the conical 
huts, called Pict-houses. have the form of the arch; the dol- 
mens have the form of houses with roofs, and some of them 
have openings, which remind us of the doorways with the pier 
and lintel, but they all lack the elements which are essential 
to architectural structures; viz: the true arch; the column with 
its capital; the cornice, and architrave; and the decoration of the 
walls and sides. They contain the rudiments w'hich constitute 
the alphabet, but are never put together in such a shape that 
we can read in them any story which architecture, as such, 
would present We may sa\-. then, of architecture, the same 
that we do of literature, that neither of them really began before 
the time of history; fo^the use of letters was the means of in- 
troducing writing, and writing naturally gave birth to history; 
as the discovery and use of architectural principles, such as 
the true arch, the decorated column, the cornice, and other 
elements, gave rise to architecture; at least to that form of 
architecture which has appeared in historic countries. As to 
the date in which those changes occurred which brought the 
rude constructions of the pre-historic races into the condition, 
or form, which rendered them suitable and worthy of the name 
of architecture, we have no definite information. And yet, as 
we examine the different records, here and there, we find that 
the introduction of letters and the discovery of architectural 
principles were everywhere contemporaneous. There was, 
however, always an interval between the pre-historic and the 
historic which has never been quite filled, and it matters not 
what country we visit, w^e find the gap still open. No discovery 
has yet brought the pre-historic so closely into contact with 
he historic that we can say that they are joined together. 
The missing links have been sought for in man\' lands, but 
they are still missing, and the only way to bring the two ages 
together is to substitute something which we know belongs 
to both, and has continued through all ages. These substitu- 


tes we believe may be found in some of the common things 
which were in use in the very earliest times, and are still in 
use, but are scarcely noticed because they are so common. 
We refer now to roads, canals, bridges and boats, all of which 
are very common at the present day, but were also as common 
in the days when there was no history, and no architecture, 
and no art, and scarcely any civilization, but when the people 
had to have the necessities of life, and did have them, and 
with them al?o many of the conveniences. They grew out of 
the necessities of the early periods but they were the last to 
channe their form, or character, and for that reason, they have 
lagged beljind the progress of the world, and have always 
been too insignificant to be worthy of a prominent place in 
history. There are to be sure many allusions in history to the 
ancient canals, roads, bridges and boats, but they are merely . 
incidental to the record, and are not given a place among any 
of the prominent and conspicuous structures which have ap- 
peared either '"n the pre-historic, or the historic age. Their 
association with other things such as houses, fortresses, pal- 
aces, temples, cities, arches, and gateways, has always been 
very close, but they were only the humble servitors which were 
alwavs useful, but seldom noticed, and never considered worthy 
of mention. Even the terms which are used in connection 
with them are significant of their humble character; for 
they are called constructions and mechanical contrivances, 
rather than architectural works, and are assigned to the prov- 
ince of civil engineering and mechanics rather than architec- 
ture or art 

It is, however to this humble class of constructions that we 
shall devote a chapter; for they are really the connecting links 
between the pre-historic and the historic age; and are about 
the only things which we can positively state have continued 
through both ages. They may indeed have been at the begin- 
ning very rude and primitive, yet they served the same purpose 
at the outset that they do at the present day. The roads upon 
the land, the canals with the water in them, the bridges which 
carried the roads across the water, and the boats which con- 
ducted the tra\ eler through the water, were all at one time 
very simple and rude contrivances, but they were as useful 
then as they are now. They have been useful in history; and 
great events have turned, and been decided according to their 
presence or their absence. Many archcxological disco\eries 
have also been made by means of them, and still others are 
likely to be made To illustrate: it was a road which led up 
to the Lions Gate at Mycense, w^hich disclosed, not only the 
peculiar arch with its pier and lintel, and its sculptured lions, 
but which, followed within the gate, led Schliemann to the Bee- 
hive tomb, and to the wonderful treasures contained within it. 
It was a common road which led to the gateway, which opened 
into the city of Troy, a burnt city, but within the portal of that 



Jit :•■ 




I'll ii;i 














77 . 

city, and amid the ruins, there were contained those evidences 
which led Schliemann to identify the place with the famous 
city about which Homer sang of old, and in which history has 
been so much interested. The stairway which led from the 
gate up to the city was a common stairway made of stone ?teps, 
but it became very significant when the treasure was discov- 
ered, for it identified the building at the top as the palace 
of Priam. His keen eye when he examined the relics which 
were so strangely mingled together, immediately discriminat- 
ed between those which belonged to the Stone and those 
which belonged to the Bronze Age, and enabled him to draw 
the lines between the earlier and the later cities which were 
erected upon the same spot, though the lines between the his- 
toric and the pre-historic cities became marvellously less as he, 
with others, proceeded in the examination of the various layers, 
and relics which were contained in the ruins. 

The importance of these common things is shown by other 
discoveries, for they have often furnished the clew to the dark 
problems of history. 

The arch which Robinson discovered in the wall of the 
temple at Jerusalem was only a fragment, but it showed the 
character of the bridge w^hich led from the ancient city of 
David across the Tyropaean Valley to the ancient temple on 
Mount Moriah. The various sills, or thresholds which Dr. W. 
H. Bliss found at Jerusalem, far beneath the surface, were or- 
dinary door-sills which had been worn by the feet of people 
who crossed them, but the succession of them one above the 
other, showed the number of houses that had been built on the 
same spot. The boat which was discovered on the coast of 
Norway, beneath a mound, was an ordinary boat, such as the 
Norsemen were accustomed to use, but taken with the canoes 
and boats which have been exhumed from the peat-beds of 
Ireland and England and Switzerland it gave the last link in 
the long chain, and furnished the record of the progress of 
boat building from the pre-historic up to the historic age. 

So those constructions which have been brought to 
light by the researches of antiquarians and archeologists 
reveal to us the very beginnings of architecture. They may, 
perhaps, belong to the department of mechanics and engi- 
neering, as we have said, but they so resemble , and are 
so associated with architectural works that it is impossible 
to separate them. The relation of these humble and 
common things to the events of history is exceedingly 
important. Xerxes who built his bridge of boats across 
the Hellespont is said to have thrown chains into .the 
sea whose waves had broken the bridge, with the vain 
boast that he had chained the waves, but the absence of a 
bridge has baffled many a general, and the lack of a road 
has defeated many an army, while on the other hand an or- 
dinary canal has enriched a whole country, and the building 


of a road has often brought the distant parts of a nation in- 
to harmony with its rulers. 

We need no excuse for devoting" a cliapter to these sub- 
jects; for the}'^ are too closely connected with histor}' and 
throw too much light upon the histor}' of the world to be 
omitted. Without them, the gap between the pre-historic 
and the historic age would continue, for very little has so 
far been discovered that can be relied upon to fill it, but, 
with them, the succession continues unbroken. AVe may 
say that the monuments of the Stone Age stand like an 
abutment upon one side of a gulf; for the successors to them 
have not yet been discovered. The monuments of the 
Bronze and the Iron Age stand like an abutment upon the 
other side, and it is not easy to discover what immediately 
preceded, but it is through such humble and unobserved 
things as the bridges, boats and such objects as have been 
preserved in the graves we find the connecting links, 
and are able to follow the line from one age to another. 

These had their beginnings in the Stone Age, but the}' con- 
tinued in an unbroken succession through the Bronze and 
Iron Ages, and really connect the pre-historic with historic 

This is the case in all countries, and it matters not Avhat 
region we enter, we shall find these common things very 
useful, from the aid they give to us in connecting the past 
with the present. It may be that some would prefer to be- 
gin with the Oriental countries, and there seek for the con- 
necting links betwee the historic and the pre-historic age, 
but there are so many advantages in taking the American 
continent for our field of stud}', that we shall draw illus- 
trations from our own land, and afterwards go to the dis- 
tant regions, and study such tokens as can be found there. 

We maintain that there are all about us, those objects 
which are reall}- the survivals of the pre-historic age, and 
they are so similar to those Avhich existed thousands of 
years ago in the east that we may rely upon them for our 

1. Let us then take the boats which were formerly in use 
on this continent; some of them still used by the Indians of 
the deep interior for our first objects of study. It is known 
that the earliest boat was a mere lo^, ch had been dug 
out with stone tools, and by the aid of fire, was made hollow, 
and so capable of holding the early navigator, who was 
clothed with skin, and had no better tool than the stone axe. 
Such hollow logs have been discovered near the lake dwell- 
ings of Switzerland , but they resemble those which were com- 
mon in America. This was the beginning of ship-building 
and ship-carpentry, and it was a very important beginning. 
The next stage was one in which the external form was 
brought into harmony with the interior. A comely shajDe 


was given to the boat. The log- became not only lighter 
but more shapely, and more easily propelled. It was not 
long- before the habit of imitating- the shape of animals as- 
serted itself in connection with this art of boat building-, 
and the canoe soon came to have a curved prow, which rose 
above the water line like the neck and head of a water fowl. 
A canoe has been dug- out from the peat beds of Switzer- 
land, which has a prow the exact shape of a bird's head, a 
hole through the solid end of the proAv representing- the 
eye of the bird. This shows how early the art instinct laid 
hold of the savag-e, and trained his hand to g-reat skill 
in sculpturing the wood into forms and lines of g-race and 
beauty. The navigators of the inland waters of America 
were not different from the fishermen who inhabited the 
shores of the inland lakes of Europe, for both had skill in 
the art of making- beautiful creations out of the common 
log-s, which were felled in tne forests. Boats have been 
exhumed from the island keys off the coast of Florida, 
which are very interesting- on account of their size and 
shape. There are boats still in use on the streams of the 
luterior which are models of beauty. But of all the crafts 
which the native American was able to construct by the aid 
of such rude tools as are made of stone, those which are 
still .seen upon the northwest coast are the most striking; 
for their beauty and grace. These are large enough to 
hold a company of navigators, and high enough to with- 
stand the waves of the stormy ocean. Their graceful bows 
rise high above the rest of the vessel, and are generally 
painted and ornamented with some mythological figure, 
representing some bird or beast which rules the waters. 
Propelled by the strong hands of the skillful navigators, 
they fly over the waves like winged birds and no storm ar- 
ises which intimidates the hearts of those who know how 
they may outride the waves. Such boats are still common 
on the northwest coast, but there were formerly boats and 
canoes equally beautiful and capacious on the inland 
waters of this continent. A fleet of such boats is said to 
have attended the Queen or cacique of Cofachiqui who met 
De Soto as he passed on his famous expedition. "This fleet 
formed a kind of aquatic procession, the van of which was 
led by a grand canoe, containing six embassadors, paddled 
by a large number of Indians, towing after it the state barge 
of the Princess who reclined on cushions in the stern, 
under a canopy supported by a lance. She was accompa- 
nied by eight female attendants. A number of canoes tilled 
with warriors closed the procession."' Other fleets, contain- 
ing warriors were seen by DeSoto on the Mississippi River. 
One of these is described as follows:* 

One day while at work they perceived a fleet of two hundred canoes 

•See Irving's Conquest of Florida. 


descending the river. They were filled with armed Indians, painted after 
their wild fashion, adorned with feathers of every color, and carrying 
shields in their hands, made of the buffalo hide, wherewith some sheltered 
the rowers, while others stood in the prow and poop of the the canoe with 
their bows and arrows. The canoes of the cacique and chief warriors were 
decorated with fanciful awnings, under which they sat and gave their or- 
ders to those who rowed. "It was a pleasing siijcht," says the Portuguese 
narrator, '• to behold these wild savages in their canoes, which were neatly 
made and of great size, and, with their awnings, colored feathers and wav- 
ing standards, appeared like a fleet of jjaileys." 

In contrast with these are the boats which are now in 
use among- the fishermen of the Arctic regions. 

H. H. Bancroft says: 

Throughout the Aleutian Islands the boats are made wholly of skins 
of seals or sea-lions, excepting the frame of wood or whale-ribs. Two 
kinds of skin boats are employed by the natives, a large and a small one. 
The large boat is tlat-bottomed with the skeleton of whale ribs, covered 
with seal skins sewed together. The small boat is called a Kyak, and is 
entirely covered with skins, top as well as well as bottom, saving a hole in 
the deck which is filled by the navigator. The kvak is about sixteen feet 
in length, and two feet in width at the middle, and tapers off to a point at 
either end, is light and strongs and is skillfully handled. The native will 
twirl his kyak completei\ over, turn a summersault, and by the aid of his 
paddle, come up safely at the other side. Sleds, sledges and dogs, and 
land-boats play as an important part en the land as these skm boats do in 
the water. The runners of the sleds are thin, flexible boards, which are 
well adapted to the inequalities of the ground. 

The Haidah canoes are dug out of cedar logs, and are sometimes 
sixty feet long, six and a half wide, and four and a half deep, accomoda- 
ting one hundred men. The prow and stern are raised, and often grace- 
fully carved like a swan's neck, with a monstrous head at the extremity. 
Boats of the better class have their exteriors carved and painted with the 
gunwale inlaid in some cases with otter teeth. They are impelled rapidly 
and safely over the often rough waters of the coast inleis by shovel-shaped 
paddles. Large i\eets of canoes from the rorth visit \'ictoria each spring 
for whaling purposes. 

The Nootka Sound Indians build their canoes from a single cedar 
trunk. Of the most elegant proportions, they are modeled by the builder 
with no guide but the eye, and with the most imperfect tools. The form 
varies among different nations according as to whether the canoe is intend- 
ed for ocean, sound or river navigation. They rub and polish the outncle 
and paint the interior with red. "* 

Californians built their boats out of red wood and cotton- 
wood trees. They were blunt at both ends and flat bottomed, 
but what is very remarkable, some of them are built without 
being touched with a sharp edged tool of any kind.. They 
are burned off at the required length and hollowed out by fire. 
A piece of fresh bark, occasionally wet, prevented the flames 
from extending too far in the wrong direction. They built 
rafts from bundles of rushes which were lashed together in 
hammock shapes. They are useful for salmon-spearing, and 
for fishing. 

In contrast to th(;se boats of California are the large ranoes 

which are said by the early Spanish explorers of Mexico to 

have been so numerous on the lake, which was the scene 

of so many exploits at the time of the Conquest. These 

accounts are evidently exaggerated but we quote from Ban- 

•See Bancroft's Native Races of the Pacific States; Vol. i; p. 166—190. 

croft's description of them and leave the reader to form his 

own opinions. 

"Owing to the position of the city in the midst of the lake, traffic was 
chiefly conducted by means of canals, which led into almost every ward 
and had on both sides quays for the reception and landing of goods and 
passengers. Many of these were provided with basins and locks to retain 
the water within them, while at the mouth were small buildings which serv- 
ed as offices for the custom house officials. Bridges, many of which were 
upwards of thirty feet wide, and could be drawn up so as to cut off com- 
munication betw'een the different parts. The circumference of the city 
has been estimated at about twelve miles, and the number of houses at 
sixty thousand. Fifty other towns, many of them consisting of over three 
thousand dwellings, were scattered on and around the lake, the shallow 
waters of wjiich were skimmed by two hundred thousand canoes. Four 
grand avenues paved with a smooth, hard crust of cement, ran east, west, 
north and south crosswise, formmg the boundary lines of the four quarters, 
at the meeting place of which was the grand temple court. Three of these 
roads connected in a straight line with large causeways leading from the 
city to the lake shores; constructed by driving in piles, and filling in the 
intervening spaces with earth, branches and stones. They were broad 
enough to allow ten horsemen to ride abreast with ease, and were defended 
by draw bridges and breast works. Half a league before reaching the 
city this causeway was joined by the Zolac road, coming from Xochamilco. 
the point of junction being defended by a fort surrounded by a battlemented 
wall twelve feet high, and provided with two gates through which the road 
passed. A fourth causeway from Chapultepec served to support the aque- 
duct which supplied the city with water. 

The chief resort for the people was the levee, which stretched in a 
semicircle around the southern part of the city. Here during the day 
the merchants hustled about their cargoes, and the custom houses while at 
night the promenaders resorted tliere to enjoy the fresh breezes from the 
lake. Among the arrangements for the convenience of the public may be 
mentioned light houses to guide the canoes which brought supplies to the 
greatjmetropolis. These were erected at different points upon towers and 
heights. The streets were lighted by burning braziers- placed at conven- 
ient intervals. A force of a thousand men kept the canals in order. The 
numerous fountains which adorned the city were fed by the aqueducts, 
which brought water from the hill of Chapultepec about two miles off, and 
was constructed upon a causeway of solid masonry five feet high and five 
feet broad, running parallel to the Tlacopan road. This aqueduct carried 
a volume of water equal to a man's body, which was conducted by branch 
pipes to different parts of the town A.t the different canal bridges there 
were reservoirs into which the pipes emptied. The water was obtained 
from a fine spring on the summit of the mountain Chapultepec." — (Ban- 
croft's Native Races). 

As a relief to these exaggerations we may take the testi- 
mony of some of the early writers. Peter Martyr says "that 
the trees were felled vvith copper and flint axes, and drawn 
upon rollers to their destination. Of nails they had none. 
They bored holes in beams and probably used wooden bolts 
Sun-dried bricks were chiefly used in the dwellings, stone for 
the lower floor of the palaces. Lime was used for mortar. 
Roofs were covered with clay, straw and palm leaves. The 
houses were low and detached, each prov^ded with a court 
and a garden. The streets were narrow. There were no \e- 
hicles; transportation was done by carriers. At intervals 
was a market place, with a fountain in the center, and a square 
filled with temples." 


Boats do not seem to have served so important a part in 
Central America or in Peru, as in Mexico; for they were inland 
empires, or provinces, ano depended more on the products of 
the soil and of the mines, and their chief feature consisted in 
their magnificent palaces and temples. Still there were boats 
along the coast which were even longer and more commodious 
than those which were seen upon the Great River. One of 
these was seen b)' Columbus on his second voyage and called 
forth his wonder. 
The following is a description of one of these canoes. 

"Columbus landed at Barracca, one of a group of Islands lying about 
thirty miles from the northern coast of Honduras. While he was on shore 
he beheld a canoe which had arrived from a distant voyage. He was 
struck with its magnitude and contents. It wAs eight feet wide, and as 
large as a galley, though formed of a trunk of a single tree. In the center 
was a kind of awning, or cabin of palm leaves, after the manner of the, 
gondolas at \'enice. Under this sat the cacique with his wife and children. 
Twenty five Indians rowed the canoe, and it was filled with all kinds of 
articles of manufactured and natural production. Among various uten- 
sils and weapons similiar to those already found among the natives he per- 
ceived others of a much superior kind. There were hatchets for cutting 
wood, formed of copper, wooden swords with sharpened flints firmly hxed 
in a groove, and fastened by cords made of the intestines of fiihes. There 
were copper bells, and a rude crucible designed to melt the copper; various 
vessels and utensils made of clay, marble and of hard wood; sheets and 
mantles of cotton, worked and dyed with various colore, and great quanti- 
ties of cocoa. Their provisions consisted of bread made from maize and 
roots of various kinds. The women wore mantles with which they 
wrapped themselves, and the men had cloths ot cotton around their loms. 
They informed him that they had just arrived from a country rich, cultiva- 
ted and industrious, situated in the west. They endeavored to impress 
him with the idea of the wealth and magnificence of the country from 
which they came." 

2. As to the roads which existed in America in pre-hisloric 
times, very little is known. There were to be sure trails which 
connected the villages with one another. Some of them were 
used as thoroughfares, messengers were sent to and fro be- 
tween the villages. In fact there was a perfect network of 
trails all over the territory contained in the Mississippi Valley, 
which for the time was as complicated and extensive as the net- 
work of railroads is at the present day. These trails, after the 
advent of the white man, became the routes which were fol- 
lowed by the emigrants from the seacost to the interior, and 
became the high wajs and public roads for the different states. 
The route that was taken by the French explorers in \ ibiting 
the villages of the Iroquois was that of a trail, and it became 
the same route which the early settlers of Ohio followed when 
they were migrating. Another route led from the valle\- of the 
Schuylkill over the mountains by way of Wilkesbane lo the 
headwaters of the Alleghany River followed an old Indian 
trail, but it became the Wilderness Road which the settlers of 
Ohio took when they migrated from New England and the 
Atlantic coast. Another route led up the Potomac River to 
the headwaters of the Kenawha River, and down the river to 
the valley of the Ohio. This was however, the route which the 


Indian tribes and the mound-building tribes took, in their mi- 
grating toward the Atlantic coast and the regions adjoining 
the Gulf of Mexico. The same route was followed by the 
Dakotasas they migrated from the region on the Atlantic to 
the Ohio Valley, and through the Ohio Valley to the prairies 
of the west. The army of De Soto followed a trail which led 
to the villages situated in the Gulf states, and finally reached 
the banks of the Mississippi River, and the region west of the 
river; in fact it was a trail which marked his route from begin- 
ning to end. It was a trail also that led Marquette to leave the 
little fleet of canoes beside the waters of the Great River, and 
to visit the village which was situated on the Des Moines 
River, when he was met by the chief who was so reverent in 
his manner and attitude. There are some hints, however, 
of more pretentious roadways than these slight trails. The 
historian of De Soto's party speaks of a wide roadway which 


ed from the water's edge to one of the villages which the 
party visited, the remains of which have been identified in 
the earth walls, which are still standing. There are also 
graded roadways which led from the ancient villages of the 
mound-builders of the Ohio Valley to the water's edge which 
are still marked at the present day by double lines of earth- 
walls, making them among the most conspicuous of the mound- 
builder's works, though the manner of constructing such cover- 
ed ways has always been a mystery, It may be that the 
earth-walls were designed to protect the people who dwelt in 
the villages from the attacks of wild tribes as they went to 
their fields or to the river's bank in large binds with their 
chiefs and ruling men at their head. These roads were at times 
attended with embankments which served for the landing 


places of their canoes, and they suggest a picture of the times 
which corresponds with that given by the pyramid-mounds 
and \illage enclosures and tcmplc-sites and dance-circles with 
which the region abounds. 

We need only to imagine the fleets of canoes drawn up 
upon the water's edge, and the large bands of gaily decorated 
Indian warriors emerging from the village circles toward the 
river, ready to take their departure on some great expedition 
to neighboring villages, on some great festival occasion, to re- 
alize something- of the social condition of the people of the 

The "covered wa}'s" which have been described as existing 
at Portsmouth and as having been used in processions in sac- 



■ tt-fytaifstj /t'O ■•^awi E H liafts /ii7i7. 


rificial ceremonies differed from those which connected village 
enclosures though they were protected in the same way by 
earthwalls. The best illustrations of roadways and graded ways 
may be found at Marietta, at Piketon, at Chillicothe and on 
Paint Creek in Southern Ohio, also in Highbank, on the Scioto 
River, and at Hopeton, in Ross County, also Newark, Licking 
County. There is also a covered way or avenue similiar to 
this at Mount Royal, in Georgia, which was formerly the 
Cherokee country. De Sotc found such a broad roadway in 
Florida. Another illustration, however, of a roadway is found 
in Mexico; for here there was a road which ran from the city 
in each direction across the lake to the shore. This has already 
been described, but the best illustration is the one which was 


situated at Teotihuacan, which was called the path of the Dead. 
It led from the great pyramid on which was a temple to the 
sun, between a series of pyramids for a distance of two miles, 
and was from two hundred to three hundred feet in width. 

3. Mention should be made of the contrivances for securing 
water which were common in this country during the pre-his- 
toric age. It is well known that in Oriental countries it is one 
of the difficult problems, and a well, which contained drinking 
water was valuable enough for tribes to contend with one 
another to gain the control of them. The contentions between 
the servants of Jacob, who had dug a well, and the Canaan- 
ites is mentioned in the Scriptures as an important event. 
This point is also illustrated by many things on our own con- 

^-manrsisciEnii^iH ■w(!D]s.e:s, 

gr Tit *W»r- *r '■■£ rfjrir »irfa. 


tinent. In the first place, we may notice that the villages of 
the aborigines were always located near some stream, or in the 
absence of a stream, near some spring of living water. Even 
among the Pueblos of the far west, this was as common as 
among the tribes of the Mississippi Valley; for they were sit- 
uated in an arid region, and the value of water w^is apprecia- 
ted by them. A description has been given by certain explor- 
ers of that remarkable cavity in the rock called Montezuma 
Wells. Around this little body of pure water there were cliff- 
dwellings hidden amid the niches of the rocks, which were 
formerly occupied by a people who were agriculturists, and 


cultivated the soil in the neighborhood, but made their home 
at this spot for the sake of the water. There are also many 
localities where cisterns and reservoirs were constructed on 
the Mesas, and the water, which fell from the clouds was care- 
full stored there. The City of Mexico was abundantly sup- 
pliedvvith water from the lakes which abounded there, but it 
is one sign of the advancement of the people there that a 
fountain was constructed upon a distant mountain-top, and the 
water was conducted from it to the city, for the supply of the 
palace. The canals which formerly existed on this continent 
are also worthy of notice. These were far more artificial than 
the springs, or lakes, or wells, and for this reason have been 
oftener described. 

4. The aqueducts of America are also worthy of mention in 
this connection. It is well known that there were aqueducts 
in Peru before the times of the conquest. These showed 


much evidence of skilful engineering and mechanical con- 
struction. They supplied the cities with an abundance of 
water. They remind us of the reservoirs and aqueducts which 
supplied the City of Mexico with water before the time of 
Cortez' conquest. In Central America there was a scarcety of 
drinking water, and the natives were obliged to resort to the 
natural reservoirs, called "cenotes," which were contained in 
the caves with which that country abounds, but the rulers 
had extensive cisterns connected with the palaces, from which 
they gained their supply of Water. These cisterns have been 
ransacked recently by Mr. H. C. Mercer, and many highly 
finished specimens of pottery have been recovered from them. 
5. The canals which were constructed in America in pre-his- 
toric times are very interesting, perhaps as interesting as the 


boats. There were a few canals in Florida the object of which 
is unknown, though they may have been designed to connect 
the waters of the ocean with the St. John River, or with the 
Lagoons between the two. There were also canals on the 
north west coast and on the California coast which connected 
some artificial harbors with the ocean at high tide. These, 
however, are insignificant when compared wkh those which 
formerly existed in the Interior, the most important of which 
were constructed by the Pueblos and the Cliff-dwellers. De- 
criptions of these have been published in the work on the 
Cliff-dwellers, and we shall therefore pass them by, merely re- 
ferring to them as worthy of study. These canals were used 
for irrigating purposes, and were very useful, the most im- 
portant one being that which was situated in the Verde Valley. 

idOUNO • "NOLI. CLt**l CltEE'^. 


The age of this canal is unknown, but it is old enough to have 
been affected by the changes of nature, and antedated the de- 
posit of alluvial soil. Reservoirs and convenient basins stored 
the water. The canal had several decided bends. The cut 
shows the ancient ditch, just where it turned southward and 
bassed under the bluff. The plate shows where it passed the 
bluff, and turned toward the Verde River. Other canals have 
been described by F. H. Cushing, who says that they may be 
followed for many miles, and were wide enough and deep 
enough for the transportation of timber and even grain. They 
varied in width from ten to thirty feet, and in depth from 
three to twelve feet. Their banks were terraced in such a 
form as to secure a central current. The fall was about one 
foot to the mile. The ancients constructed great reservoirs to 
store the excessive water when the river was high, for conserv- 
ing the waters of the sudden rains on the mountains and hills. 
The people built dams in the ravines, and large reservoirs in 


the neighboring hills. From these reservoirs the waters were 
allowed to flow gradually over the fields.* 

There were contrivances for storing water, for domestic 
purposes, which show the skill as well as the necessities of the 
cliff-dwellers. One of these shown in the plate, consisted in 
excavating a cistern in the rock, high up in the sides of the cliff, 
but near the cliff-houses, then making use of the ledge which 
led out toward the stream, and from that point drawing water 
out of the stream and filling the cistern with it, making use of 
some vessel and cord which resembled the bucket and 
rope of historic times, though they were made out of fibre and 
clay by the pre-historic people. 

The canals of Mexico are fully as interesting as those of 
New Mexico. These have been described by the Spanish ex- 
plorers and Mr. Bancroft has compiled their account in his 
interesting volume. The aqueducts and canals of Peru are 
worthy of attention. These have been described by E. G. 

Sauier as follows: 

"Even in these parts where the rain falls six month of the year, irriga- 
ting canals are used. The people economized every rood of ground by 

building their towns 
t^j\'\' ^ and habi t ation s in 

places unfit for culti- 
vation, but they ter- 
raced the hillsides and 
mountains, and led 
the mountain springs 
and torrents down- 
wards until they were 
lost in the valley. 
These acequias are of 
great length, extend- 
ing in some places 
hundreds of miles, 
sustained by high 
in some cases con- 
It is on the 



'walls of masonry, cut in the living rock, and 
ducted in tunnels through the sharp spurs of the mountains 
desert Pacific coast of Peru that we find the most extensive works 
not only constructed dams at different elevations, with side weirs to deflect 
the water over the higher slopes of the valley, but they built enormous 
reservoirs high up among the mountains, as well as down nearer the sea. 
One of these reservoirs in the valley of the Xepena is three-quarters of a 
mile long, half a mile broad, and consists of a massive dam of stone, eighty 
feet thick at the base, and carried across a gorge between two lofty hills. 
It was supplied by canals, oue starting fourteen miles up the valley, and 
the other from a living spring five miles distant. The Bath of the Incas 
and seats cut m the rock, the famous lake and islands in the lake, are fea- 
tures which render the citv of Titicaca verv famous. Here was a palace 
which stood on an artificial terrace, while the steep hill bends around it in 
a half-moon, m graceful curves, also terraced. The Inca's Chair is also a 
remarkable curiosity. Here a mass of sandstone one hundred feet long, 
twenty feet high, contained on its summit a chair which was cut out of the 
solid rock with steps or seats also cut out of the rock leading to it on both 

There are many other contrivances throughout the and 
regions for conveying and storing water, and for irrigating the 
soil, and even in supplying the villages with water-(see cut.) 

















I— I 




The study of the various constructions which were used for 
the distribution of water, and for the conveyance of freight, 
and for travelling on this continent, as compared with those com- 
mon in Oriental countries, is very instructive. 

These contrivances were more abundant in the arid regions, 
where the pueblos and cliff dwellers had their home, but they 
wc^e also common in Mexico, Central America, and Peru, and 
were used for domestic purposes, and for the supply of foun- 
tains and gardens, for fields, and other purposes. Canals were 
built by the Pueblo tribes and exter.ded from ten to. eighty 
miles, and were used both for irrigating and transporting 
timber and logs to the villages. Here the villages were at 
times placed at the end of canals, but in other places they 
were scattered along the sides of the canals or acequias. 

There were in the valley of the Gila and Salado acequias, along 
which continuous villages were scattered which drew the water 
from them for irrigating the soil, some of which remain to the 

present time. The ancient 
culture which flourished in 
these villages is shown by 
the ruins of ih^Grcat Houses, 
bordered on both sides by 
ample fields and gardens, 
which were irrigated by 
canals which conveyed 
water from the streams. 
There is no doubt that the 
degree of civilization reach- 
ed by the Pueblos was ow- 
ing to the fact that per- 
manent villages were estab- 
lished along these canals, 
and the irrigating of the soil gave subsistence to the people, 
.notwithstanding the and climate that prevailed. 

Irrigating ditches are still in use in New Mexico and Sonora, 
but ancient ditches are sometimes found several feet below 
these. Garden beds are very common in these regions. These 
garden beds were sometimes on the sides of bluffs, the face of 
which had been converted into terraces. There are creeks and 
streams far southwest among the Sierra Madre mountains, with 
stone terraces built across small valleys, which resemble stair- 
cases. This region was occupied by a tribe of cave dwellers, 
who built great cylindrical store-houses, in which they stored 
grain which was raised in the valleys. 
Mr. Carl Lumholtz says: 

"On the table lands and hills are to be seen ancient ruins of exten- 
sive villages rough cyclopcean walls of small houses built clgse together; 
while on the broad flat river banks below, there are large areas with a net- 
work of low stone dikes for spreading the water of the aroyas when irrigat- 
ing the ancient garden fields. Arrow heads of obsidian, pieces of pottery 
and mill stones; were found near these pueblos. Earlier than the Apaches 



there lived in these woodlands other Indians of an agricultural house- 
building race, now extinct. Most of the ancient pueblos are found on the . 
ridges of the very mountain crests, with commanding views of the surround- 
ings. On the steep mountain slopes there are astonishing numbers of small 
terraces looking like giant steps, built one above the other, which were 
used for ancient garden beds, and were formed by a simple wall of boulders 
from 6 to 2o feet high. The most remarkable structures were the cupola- 
shaped jars which were lound among the cave dwellings and served the 
purpose of storing corn." 

There were also in Central America cenotes or underground 
wells around which many of the ancient cities were erected. 
These cenotes were natural ponds which were surrounded by 
the rocks, and were reached by paths or stairways. 

M. D. Charna\- has described two such wells or cenotes at 
Chichen-Itza. He says: 

"The situation of Chichen is due probably to the great cenotes which- 


supplied the city with abundant water, and which differ from the under- 
ground passages noted in other parts of the State, being great natural pits- 
of great depth with perpendicular sides. The Sacred Cenote is oblong in 
shape, and measures from 130 to 165 feet; the walls 65 feet high, and is per 
pendicular throughout. Hither pilgrims repaired and offerings were made, 
for Chichen was a holy city, and among her shrines the cenote held a con- 
spicuous place, as the following passage triim Landa will show 'From the 
courtyard of the theatre a good wide road led to a well some little distance 
b' vond, into which in times of drought the natives used to throw men as an 
offering to their deities. I also found sculptured lions, which, from the 
nianner In which they were fashioned, must have been wrought with metal 
11 struments; besides two statues of considerablt. size with peculiar head, 
earrings and the mantle around their loins.' The statue of Tlalcc, who was 
tl e god of water, was found at Chichen-Itza, showing that it was a sacred 
place becaust. of the abundance of water. This statue has carved on the 
surface, aquatic plants, and two frogs and a fish. This represents a man- 
lying on his back, his legs drawn up, and his feet on the ground, and hold- 
ng in both hands a vase." 








•j -- 



There were in America, fountains and aqueducts which at- 
tracted the attention of the early discoverers, some of which 
have been described by the early explorers. Thes.e aqueducts 
did not equal those which were so common in ancient historic 
lands, yet a comparison between the two, will reveal to us the 
social status of the prehistoric people. Strabo said the Romans 
built great aqueducts in their provinces. That of Metz in 
Belgic Gaul, is among the most remarkable. The aqueducts 
on the Island of Mirylene, of Antioch, of Segovia of Spain, 
and of Constantinople, are to be mentioned. The cut repre- 
sents the aqueduct of Segovia, and shows the manner in which 
such structures were erected by the Romans. 

The following is a description of the aqueducts in Mexico: 

"Water was brought over hill and dale to the top of the mountain, by 

means of a solid stone aqued".ct. Here it was received m a large basin, 

having in its center a great rock, upon which were inscribed in a circle the 


hieroslyphics representing the years that had elapsed since Nezahual- 
covotl's birth, with a list of his most noteworthy achievements. * * * 

From this basin the water was distributed through the garden in two. 
streams, one of which meandered down the northern side of the hill, and 
the other down the southern side. There were likewise several towers or 
columns of stone having their capitals made in the shape of a pot from 
which protrude plumes of feathers, which signified the name of the place. 
Lower down, was the colossal figure of a winged beast called by Ixtlilxo- 
chetl. a lion lying down, with its face toward the east, and having in its 
mouth a sculptured portrait of the king; this statue was generally covered 
with a canopy adorned with gold and feather work. 

A little lower yet there were three basins of water, emblematic of the 
great lake, and on the borders of the middle one three female figures were 
sculptured on the solid rock, representing the heads of the confederated 
states of Mexico, Tezcucoand TIacopan. 

Upon the northern side of the hill was another pond; and here upon the 
rock was carved the Coat of Arms of the city of Tulan, which was formerly 
the chief town of the I'oltecs. Upon the southern slope of the -hill was yet 
another pond, bearing the coat of arms and the name of the city of Tena- 
yuca, which was formerly the head town of the Chichimecs. From this 
basin a stream of water flowed continually over the precipice, and being 
dashed into spray upon the rocks, was scattered like rain over a garden of 


•odorous tropical plants. In the garden were two baths, duf? out of one 
large piece of porphyry, and a flight of steps also cut from the solid rock; 
worked and polished so smooth that they looked like mirrors, and on the 
front of the stairs, were carved the years, months, dav, and hour in which 
information was brought to King Nezahualcoyotl of the death of a certain 
lord of Huexotzinco, whom he esteemed very highly, and who died while 
the said staircase was being built. The garden is said to have been a per- 
fect little paradise. The gorgeous flowers were all transplanted from the 
distant terra caliente; marble pavillions. supported on slender columns, 
-with tesselated pavements and sparkling fountains, nestled among the 
shady groves and afforded a cool retreat during the long summer davs. At 
the end of the garden, almost hidden by the groups of gigantic cedars and 
cypresses that surrounded it, was the royal palace, so situated that while its 
spacious halls were filled with the sensuous odors of the tropics, blown in 
from the gardens, it remained sheltered from the heat." 

"Montezuma's Baths" have also been spoken of. These 
were situated upon the mountain top, and were surrounded by 
seats vvhich probably resembled those of the Incas in Peru. 
In connection with them there was an aqueduct that led 
across the valley. 

The following is a description from Bancroft: 

'•About three m.les eastward from Tezcuco is the isolated rocky hill 
which rises with steep slopes in conical form to the height of pernaps 600 
feet above the plain, a portion on the side of the hill is graded very much 
as if intended for a modern railroad, forming a level terrace with an em- 
bankment from 60 to 200 feet high connecting the hill with another, three 
quarters of a mile distant, and then extends toward th.^ mountain ten or 
fifteen miles distant, the object of which was to support an aqueduct or pipe 
ten inches in diameter, made of baked clay or blocks of porphyry. At the 
termination of the aqueduct on the eastern slope of Tezcocinyo is a basin 
hewn from the living rock of reddish porphyry, known as "Montezuma's 
Bath," four feet and a-half in diameter, and three feet deep, which received 
water from the aqueduct, with seats cut in the rock near it." 

Several persons have described this aqueduct, amongr them 
Brantz Mayer, and Edward Tylor, who have spoken of the per- 
fection of the work. The seats which adjoined it have also 
been described by Col. Mayer, as follows: 

"The picturesque view from this spot over small plains, set in the frame 
of the surrounding mountains and glens which border the eastern side of 
Tezcoclngo, undoubtedly made this rectss a resort for royal personages for 
whom these costly works were made. From the surrounding seats they 
enjoyed a delicious prospect over this lovely but secluded scenery, 
while in the basin at their feet were gathered the waters of the spring. On 
the northern slope is another recess bordered by seats cut in the living 
rock, and traces of a spiral road and a second circular bath, and sculptured 
blocks on the summit." 

Bancroft speaks of the rtfins of a large building, a palace 
whose walls still remain eight feet high, and says that the 
whole mountain had been covered with palaces, temples, baths, 
and hanging gardens. 

There were also other aqueducts which supplied the gardens 
and fed the fountains which so beautified the various cities. 
These have been described by the Spanish writers. 

Peter Martyr, describing the Palace at Iztapalapan, writes: 

"That house also had orchards, finely planted with divers trees, and 
herbs, and flourishing flowers, of a sweet smell. Thereare also in the same 
j^reat standing pools of water with many kinds of fish, in vvhich divers kind 



OuiUuiiozrn tak^n iii Ins Hctrcnt h\ 

-^—. — —'■'_- *;;f^; '----' 






















ot all sorts of waterfowl are swimming. To the bottom of these lakes a man» 
may descend by marble steps brought far off. They report strange things 
a walke inclosed with nettings of canes, lest any one should freely come 
within the voyde plattes of ground, or to the fruits of the trees. Those 
hedges are made with a thousand pleasant devises, as it falleth out in those 
delicate purple crosse alJeyes, of myrh rosemary or boxe, al very delightful 
to behold." 

The roads and bridges which formerly existed in Me.xico,- 
Central America and Peru are also worthy of attention. These 
roads were used mainly for the passage of armies. 

Many ancient writers have described the towns which were 
scattered through the province of Mexico and the roads that 
led to them. The towns extended over a comparatively large 
surface, owing to the fact that the houses were low and de- 
tached, and each provided with a court and garden. The larger 
cities seem to have been laid out on a regular plan, but the 
streets were narrow. Indeed there was no need of wider ones 
as all transportation was done by carriers, and there were no 
vehicles.. At inteivals a market place with a fountain in the 
center, a square filled with temples or a line of shady trees re- 
lieved the monotony of the long rows of low houses. 

De Solis has described the cities which were situated in the 
midst of the lake,* and the causeways which connected them, 
and its bridges and towns, and the appearance of Montezuma, 
the king, when he came forth in his palanquin to meet Cortes. 

He says: 

"Tezcuco was, in those days, one of the greatest cities of that empire. 
The principal front of the buildings was extended upon the borders of a 
spacious lake in a delightful situation, where the causeway of Mexico 
began. In this part, the causeway was about twenty feet broad, made of 
stone and lime, with some works on the surface. In the middle of the way, 
there was another town of about 2,000 houses called Ouitlavaca: and. be- 
cause it was founded in the waters they called it Ve«zuela, or little Venice. 
From this place he discovered the largest part of the lake and vai ious towns 
and causeways. The towers, adorned by pinnacles, seemed to swim upon 
the waters, with trees and gardens out of their proper element; besides a 
multitude of Indians, who were approaching in their canoes to behold the 
Spaniards; and much greater was the number ot those who showed them- 
selves on the battlements of the houses, and in the most distant galleries; a 
sight extremely beautiful, and a novelty surprising beyond imagination. The 
next morning they found themselves upon the same causeway, being in that 
part wide enough for eight horses to march in front. The army consisted 
then of about 450 Spaniards, 6,000 Indians, Tlascalans, Zempoalan>, and 
other confederates. They continued their march to the city of Iztacpalapa, 
a place far exceeding the rest in the height of its towers and manner of 
building; the citv consisted of nearly 10,000 houses, two and three stories 
high, part of which are built upon the lake, and stretched along the shores, 
* * * The lodging of the Spaniards was prepared in the Prince's 
own palace, where they were all under cover: The palace was large, and 
well built, with distinct apartments both above and below; among which 
were many chambers whose roofs were flat, and of cedar. There were in 
Iztacpalapa many fountains of sweet and wholesome water, conveyed by 
several aqueducts from the neighboring mountains, through a great number 
of gardens, large and well cultivated. In the middle ot the garden was a 
pond of fresh water, encompassed with a wall of quadrangular form made 

♦The plate and cuts represent tde roads and bridges which the Spaniard saw on the Lake 
of Mexico, but the artist seems to have taken bis pattern from European ratherthan native Ame- 
rican models. 


of stone and lime, with stairs on all sides to the bottom. It was so 
large that each side contained 400 paces, a work well worthy of a prince. 
* * * * They had two leagues of causeway hence to Mexico, and 
took the morning before th'^'m. He continued his march in the accus- 
tomed order, and leaving in the one side the city of Magiscatzingo, situ- 
ated on the water, and on the other that of Cuyocan. upon the causeway, 
besides a great many towns, which they saw at a distance upon the lake; 
they discovered as soon as they drew somewhat nearer (and not without 
admiration) the great city of Mexico, elevated to a vast degree above all 
the rest, and carrying an air of d 'minion in the pride of her buildings. They 
had marched little less than half way, when they were met by more than 
four thousand nobles and officers of the city, who came to receive them, 
and whose compliments delayed their march a considerable time, though 
they only paid their obeysance and then advanced before the troops toward 
Mexico. In the march, a little before the city was a bulwark of stone, with 


two small castles on the sides, which took up all the ciuseway; the gates 
opened upon aiother part of the causewav, terminated bv a drawbridge 
which defen'ied the entrance of the city with a second fortification. 

As soon as the nobles whD accompinied thern had passed to tli^ o'lher 
side of the bridge, they m ide a lane, for the army to march, falling back on 
each sile. and th^n there appeared a very larg-e and spacious street, with 
great houses uniform'y bnilt; the windows and battlements w*re full of 
spectators, but the street entirely empty. And they informed Cortes that it 
was so ordered, because Montezuma resolved to receive him in person, in 
order to distinguish him bv a particular mark of favor: a little after which 
Cortes saw the first troop of the royal retinue; which consisted of abo ut two 
hundred noblemen of Montezuma's family, clothed in one livery, with great 
(plumes and feathers, alike in fashion and color. 

Then there appeared a larger company, better dressed and of greaer 


dignity, in the midst of which was Montezuma, carried upon the shoulders 
of his favorites in a chair of burnished gold, which jjlittered through the 
various works of feather?, placed in handsome proportion about it, which in 
some measure seemed to outvie the cost of the metal. Four persons of 
great distin. tion followed his chair, holding over him a canopy made of in- 
terwoven green feathers, so put together that they formed a kind of web, with 
some ornaments of silver. For his apparel Montezuma wore a mantle of 
the finest cotton, tied c relessly on his shoulders, covering the greatt st part 
of his body, with the end trailing on the ground adorned wnh different 
jewels of gold, ptar s and precious stones His crown was a mitre ot }<old. 
On his feet he wore shoes of hammered gold, whose straps studded with the 
same bound them to his feet, and came round part of his leg like the Roman 
military sandals."* 

Here then we have a description of the great chief Monte- 
zuma, and the manner in which he was carried by his atten- 
dants and his dress and general appearance. It was no doubt 
a gieat surprise to the Spaniards to meet such rojal magni- 
ficence, especially in the midst of these strange scenes, and yet 
the description given by those who attended De Soto in his 
famous expedition through the Gulf States shows that even 
there, the same method of carrying their chief and the same 
custom of adorning his form with gay feathers and gorgeous 
apparel was common among the native tribes of that region. 
The scene howexer carries us back to the times of ancient his- 
tory, to the lands of the East, and bring before us both con- 
trasts and resemblances which are very instructive. We read 
about the ancient conquerors who marched at the head of a large 
army, from Babylonia across the deserts to the land of thejordan 
and the sea, and even invaded Egypt; and we are made fami- 
liar with the chariots and horses by the monuments which re- 
present them. The Egyptian kings have left the record of 
their conquests on the rocks, and have portrayed their warriors 
as riding in chariots and gaining great victories. There are 
no such scenes in America, for while the monarchs commanded 
great armies, yet they were armies which fought their battles 
on foot, and had for their weapons the arrows and spears which 
are made of stone, and scimitars which were furnished with 
teeth or sharp points. The only con\eyances were those \\ hich 
were borne cm the shoulders of men, and in which the mon- 
archs rode in state when they were to appear before the 

Now we may say ot all of these contrivances which we have 
described as so common in America in pre-historic times that 
they were very insignificant when compared with those which 
prevailed in the lands of the East after the days of history had 
begun. If we take each one in their turn and draw the con- 
trast, we shall see that the stage of society which prevailed in 
America was far less advanced than it was in the East when 
history opened. Nevertheless, there is a lesson coming to us 
from this view. We learn from these, what kind of construc- 
tions prevailed in historic countries before history began, and 

— ■ ■ , 

*De Solis Conquest of Mexico. Vol. i. page 394. 


Tiave a picture of primitive society as it once existed in the far 

It will be remembered that there was a canal in Egypt at an 
early date which connected the Nile with the Red Sea. There 
were also canals which covered the plain of Bab3'Ion with a 
network, and made it seem like a paradise. There were gar- 
dens also which were built in the City of Babylon, so high 
above the walls as to seem to be hanging above the walls, and 
so were called "hanging gardens." There were roads which tra- 
versed the desert between Babylonia and Egypt, over which 
conquerors often passed in their chariots, others which con- 
nected the cities of Greece with one another, and gateways out 
of which chariots passed on their way to conquests. There 
were also paved roads which were built during the time of the 
Roman Empire, remains of which are still to be seen. There 
were aqueducts which served to carry the water from great dis- 
tances to the cities in ancient times, the remains of which are 
found at the present day in Jerusalem, in Rome, and the cities 
of Spain. 

There were roads in China at an early date, remains of 
which are still existing, though they are sadly neglected, and 
at present most uncomfortable to ride over. Mr. Arthur Smith 
has described them, and states that the pavements have been 
so torn up and the stones removed that the roads themselves 
are scarcely more than ditches which pass through the fields, 
and are often filled with water. The traveller who passes over 
the roads, finds himself plunging from pavements into mud- 
iholes and out again, even at the risk of his life. 

The great canal of China has been the chief thoroughfare 
of that country for many hundred years, and is still crowded 
with boats of all kinds. Travellers speak of these boats as 
constituting the homes of a vast multitude of people and as 
fitted up not merely for transportation but as permanent places 
of abode. There are however many boats in the Phillipine 
Islands which are as rude as those of China or aboriginal 
America, yet they represent the different forms which pre- 
vail'ed in prehistoric and early historic times, and furnish 
very suggestive objects of study. 



Ine Grand Canal, near ShaoghaL 

Foo Chow, China, with a population of one million, thousands of whom live in house-boats. 



The view which we have given of the prehistoric structures 
shows that the world had become quite thoroughly peopled 
before the discovery of this continent. The means by which 
this was accomplished and the lines which were followed are 
not by any means certain, but the supposition is that the peo- 
ple who first dwelt in caves amid the mountains, afterward 
went down into the valleys, and became agriculturalists; and 
still later reached the sea coast, and gradually made their way 
along the coasts, until all the continents were reached. 

It will be interesting, then, to take such structures as are 
found upon the sea coast and the islands for special objects 
of study, and see if the)' throw any light upon the subject of 
migrations These structures may, indeed, carry us back to 
those which were left many thousand years ago on the coast of 
Europe; but the comparison may, perhaps, enable us to trace 
the lines of progress which were followed and the means by 
which civilization was spread over the globe. 

We shall, therefore, take these various works as our sub- 
ject, and shall classify them under the general head of Coast 
and Maritime structures, embracing all kitchen middens, lake- 
dwellings, pile-dwellings, crannogs, shell keys, and all struc- 
tures built over the water. 

Some of the structures were, to be sure, placed near the 
fresh water lakes and are hardl)^ to be included under the term 
" maritime," and yet they may be all classed together and 
treated as if they constituted one type. The people who have 
left these various tokens are better known under the name of 
Lake-Dwellers, than by the name we have given, but they 
represent only a small part of the population which has at 
different periods, both in historic and prehistoric times, occu- 
pied the lake shores and sea coasts, and drawn their subsistence 
from the water. The terms have come to us from the archae- 
ologists, and are used chiefly by them, but are generally ap- 
plied to prehistoric structures, some of which are regarded as 
the earliest tokens of prehistoric man. 

There are, to be sure, maritime structures and pile-dwellings 
which are quite modern in their origin and are still occupied. 
These, for the most part, are found in the islands of the sea; 
some of them in the Philippine Islands, the Caroline Islands, 
the Caribs, ?.nd in Java and New Guinea. Still, the three 
classes of structures — shell mounds, pile-dwellings, and mari- 
time structures — may be said to fill up the whole gap between 
the cave period and the historic period, though there were 
many other structures contemporaneous with them. 


By taking the maritime structures which are still in exist- 
tence, and by studying them altogether, we are able to ascer- 
tain what the condition of society was in prehistoric times. 
We must remember that all three classes of works were once 
peopled by those who were exercising their skill in making for 
themselves comfortable habitations, and were laying tl.e founda- 
tions of society for the future. A large proportion of the peo- 
ple who have left these various monuments have passed away 
and are unknown, except as we are able to study their works 
and relics; but those who built the maritime structures have 
their representatives still living, and from these we may learn 
their habits, ways, and customs of the Lake-Dwellers and 
other prehistoric peoples. There is not the same mystery 
about the living people as there is about those who existed 
several thousand years ago; yet so far as the growth of archi- 
tecture is" concerned or the spread of population through the 
earth, these rude structures, which, for the most part, were built 
by sea-faring people, are as instructive as any monuments 
which exist. 

Of one thing we may be sure: namely, that these so-called 
lake-dwellings and various maritime structures were occupied 
by a sedentary people and were erected for domestic purposes; 
while of many of the stone monuments it is still a mystery as 
to what their object or use was. There may have been, indeed, 
other works, such as the so-called Pit-houses in Japan, which 
were occupied by the Ainus or their ancestors, but these are 
not of general distribution. 

The three classes of works illustrate one point: namely, the 
effect of environment upon the habits of the people. It would 
seem that, as long as the people were dwelling in the forest, 
they continued in the low condition of savagery; but, as soon 
as thev came into the open plain, they commenced their on- 
ward march toward civilization. Their progress was hastened 
as the}^ approached the sea and made their homes on the sea 
coast. There was undoubtedly an expanding influence in the 
very sight of the sea and a development of the consciousness 
of power, when man began to be a navigator of the sea. The 
narrow character of forest tribes, or even of mountain people, 
is well known, for the limitations of their surroundings have 
an inevitable effect to shut them in and keep them back. It 
will be interesting, then, to enter into the stud}' of these maritime 
constructions, and show their position among the prehistoric 

Note. — The Plate represents two mounds at Papys Bayou on Old Tampa Bay. Figure i is 
an oval-shaped mound, abont five feet high, into which a ditch about two feet deep and fifteen 
feet wide runs At the opposite end is a roadway which may be followed several hundred yards 
into the hammock Fig. 2 is a section across the mound, looking down into the ditch. Fig. ic 
represents the roadway leading to the mound. Another mound, 200 feet long, twenty-nine feet 
high, and thirty feet wide on the the top, with a beautiful incline roadway leading up its western 
side- it is situated at Bethel's Camp. Figs. 3 and 4 will give an idea of its ground plan, its 
elevation, and the incline plane or roadway to its summit, .\nother mound with a roadway to 
its summit i-i situated at Dunedin; there were around this mound, deep ditches filled wi'h water, 
and at a distance ponds and a marsh. The mound is nine feet high, fifty-six feet in length, and 
eighty feet wide- and the roadway commences fifty feet from the mound, and makes a gentle 
risetQ the to'p of the main structure. See, for description of othe; mounds and for maps, 
S ithsonian Report for 1879, page 394; article b S. T Walker. 





^ _ 




— Eit — 


J/ote. T/ie S/i a cled portions indicate 
exoloratioii s. 



j ■■''iiUJUlil' — "~ 

■^'miiim f -'""'''"''' 

















, /yT«>r^-^ 



works and their bearing upon historic times. We do not claim 
for them any architectural character, for they are generally 
rude constructions destitute of all ornament and hardly pre- 
senting even the elements of art. Nor do we, on the other 
hand, class them with the earliest historic dwellings, for there 
were rude dwellings long after there were kitchen middens, 
and it is probable that the huts which were erected by hunter 
tribes upon the land, may have continued to be occupied long 
after the shell heaps by the sea. These huts, however, which 
were hidden in the forest, were built of unsubstantial material 
and soon perished. But those which were built by the sea 
were surrounded by the heaps of shell, which are very endur- 
ing, and the result is, the latter are preserved for our examina- 
tion, while the former have passed away. 

The distribution of the kitchen middens, lake-dwellings, and 
various maritime structures, has given us a good opportunity for 
examining them, especially as there are structures resembling 
them still occupied, and from them we may learn the stage of 
society which was then represented. Still, it would be well to 
remember that what is ancient in one country is modern in 
another, and that the same structures which have been dis- 
covered on the coast of America in recent times, existed in 
Europe and Asia several thousand years ago. It may be said 
of all these structures, especially of those upon the sea coast, 
that they help us to trace the line of migration which was 
taken by the early inhabitants of the world, and throw con- 
siderable light upon the distribution of mankind throughout 
the world. 

Prof. O. T. TMason has spoken of the quest for food as being 
one cause for the distribution of the population throughout the 
globe. He has traced the migrating route which a sea-faring 
people may have taken, when passing from the islands of the 
Pacific, along the east coast of Asia and by way of the Aleutian 
Islands finally reaching the Northwest coast. The monuments 
which indicate their route, or the route taken by subsequent 
people, may be recognized in the dolmens which are found in 
India. Japan, and Peru. The kitchen middens evidently pre- 
ceded these, though it is a question whether they were left by 
a migratory people, or by a people who came down from the 
interior and made their homes on the sea coast. 

Prof. Worsaae has also spoken of the migrations which took 
place in Europe. He says: 

In the first settlement of Europe the fringe of coasts and nearest river 
courses had everywhere played a leading part. So long as hunting and 
fishing formed the most important resources of the settlers and vast 
stretches of coast were still untrod by human foot, the primeval inhabi- 
tants, unaccompanted by any domestic animal save the dog, would have no 
great difficultv in spreading further, or flitting from place to place, when 
they began to be pinched for food. A very long time must have elapsed 
ere' the more highly developed races, steadily advancing from south and 
west, were in a condition — as lake-dwellings, stone graves, and other 
memorials show— to spread from the Mediterranean coasts over Switzer- 


land, part of South Germany, the whole of France, Belgium, Holland, the 
British Isles, and Northwestern Germany. The last period of the Stone 
Age in the high north on the Baltic North Sea and the Atlantic was, there- 
fore, even in its earliest stage most probably contemporaneous with the 
victorious advance and first mdependent development of the Bronze Age 
in more southern lands, particularly on the Mediterranean.* 

The maritime .structures of the earth give rise to the inquiry 
as to the races inhabiting the sea coast and the islands, whether 
they developed from savagery in these centers and invented 
their own improvements, or received these inventions from 
other tribes, who had migrated from other parts, having been 
driven out by more civilized people. There are arguments for 
both theories. The similarities of the pile-dwellings and the 
close analogies between the maritime constructions favor the 
idea of a borrowed civilization, or one that was introduced by 
migrations. Of this Prof. Worsaae also says: 

In the South Sea Islands examples have recently been met with show- 
ing that the Stone Age people, under exceptionally favorable circumstances 
have raised themselves to a not inconsiderable height of culture in com- 
parison to the wretched savages in their vicinity. 

Rude stone objects identically similar in form and evidently from a 
corresponding stage of culture can also be shown in cave, field, and coast 
finds from south Europe, as well as in finds from the district of Thebes in 
Egypt, from Japan and from the shell heaps of America. Neither in the 
refuse heaps of Denmark, nor in the shell heaps of Japan or America is the 
least trace found of a fuller developmerit and change in ornamental 
objects, Besides feathers and other trophies of the chase, usually affected 
by savage races, their ornaments appear to have been confined chiefly to 
animal's teeth, 

The first mhabitants of Denmark, or of southwest Scandanavia, are, 
therefore, to be compared most closely with the long-vanished savage races, 
which formed corresponding refuse heaps on the coasts of Japan and 
America, especially along the river margins of the latter; or with the 
partly still existing inferior peoples in South America, off the coast of 
Japan, and in the South Seas, who support themselves in the same way on 
shell-fish fishing and hunting. Certainly nowhere else have such rude peo- 
ples, as a rule, been in the habit of rearmg great permanent monuments to 
preserve for thousands of years, the earthly remains of their dead. * * 

It is well known that the Caribs and Andaman Islanders and others, 
both at high festivals and daily meals, use certain portions of their pro- 
visions, together with implements, ornaments, etc., as offerings to their 
gods.' There is, therefore, nought to hinder the belief that a northern peo- 
ple on nearly the same level may have remembered their gods in a similar 
manner. The oldest articles of stone and bone discovered in the extreme 
north of Asia may have an apparent likeness to Stone Age objects from 
Finland, north Russia and the north of Asia, but both in material and form 
they differ entirely from the early Stone Age antiquities of southern Scan- 
danavia. They constitute a distinct Arctic group in the European Stone 

It is with these thoughts in mind that we take up the study 
of the maritime structures of the world, especially those which 
are of the most primitive and rudest form, and passing on from 
these to others that are more advanced and elaborate in char- 

I. We begin with the kitchen middens or shell heaps. 

•See "Pre-History of the North," page 20. 
tSee "Pre-History of the North," page 17. 


The description of the kitchen middens of Denmark, when 
compared with those which have already been given of the 
shell heaps on the Northwest coast, will show to us how long- 
continued was this peculiar mode of life, even for several 
thousand years. It shows, also, that different classes of peo- 
ple — hunters and agriculturalists— were in prehistoric times, as 
in modern times, in the habit of going to the sea coast and for 
a time dwelling there, leaving the dd-bris of the camps as signs 
of their presence. The fire-beds, fragments of pottery, and 
other relics, show that the people were accustomed to domestic 
life and were, perhaps, skillful in erectmg habitations for them- 
selves, The difference between the relics in the kitchen mid- 
dens in Denmark and those on the Northwest coast, shows that 
a higher grade of progress had been reached. This is shown 
especially by the superior boats which were constructed out of 
logs, by using rude stone axes. No boats have been discovered 
in these kitchen middens, but so many have been found in the 
mounds on the coast of Denmark and Norway and Sweden, 
and in the bogs of Ireland, as to convey the idea that they 
were a sea-going people, and were skillful navigators. Deep 
inlets of the sea, and not a few river courses, opened a com- 
paratively easy approach from the coasts and neighboring 
islands, leading through the woods to fresh water lakes in the 
Interior, teeming with fish, and at the same time to new and 
by no means unimportant resources. On the other hand, the 
necessity of gaining a livelihood does not appear to have 
driven the new settlers far from the coasts to the islands lying 
out in the more open sea. These facts show that the inhabi- 
tants of the world were accustomed to resort to the sea for 
subsistence and became navigators at a very early date; taking 
this for granted we may learn how the population of the globe 
became distributed. 

As to the race which constructed the kitchen middens on 
the coasts of Europe, Asia, and America, it is impossible to 
determine, but it is supposed that the ancient Turanian people 
who were the first inhabitants of Mesopotamia, antedating" the 
Semitics, were of the same race as the Finns, and it is not im- 
possible that they made their way across Behring Strait, or the 
Aleutian Islands to the Northwest coast; while another branch 
were perhaps the ancestors of the Basques, or the Britons, 
who made their way across the Atlantic to the north coasts of 
America, and so southward. 

As to the distribution of the kitchen middens, the follow- 
ing quotation from Nadaillac will give us some information: 

The kitchen middens, or heaps of kitchen refuse— such was the name 
given to these shell mounds— could not have been the natural deposits left 
bv the waves after storms, for in that case they would have been mixed 
with quantities of sand and pebbles. The conclusion is inevitable, that 
man alone could have piled up these accumulations, which were the refuse 
flung away day by day after his meals. The kitchen middens confirmed 


in a remarkable manner the opinion of Steenstrup, and everywhere a num- 
ber of important objects were discovered. In several places the old hearths 
were brought to light. They consisted of flat stones, on which were piles 
of cinders, with fragments of wood and charcoal. It was now finally proved 
that these mounds occupied the site of ancient settlements, the inhabitants 
of which rarely left the coast, and fed chiefly on the motlusca which 
abounded in the waters of the North Sea. * * * 

The earliest inhabitants of Russia placed their dwellings near rivers 
above the highest flood-levels known to or foreseen by them. Virchow has 
recognized on the shores of Lake Burtneck in Germany, a kitchen midden 
belonging to the earliest Neolithic times, perhaps even to the close of the 
Paleolithic period. He there picked up some stone and bone implements, 
and notices on the one hand the absence of the reindeer, aud on the other, 
as in Scandinavia, that of domestic animals. But in this case, the home of 
the living became the tomb of the dead, as numerous skeletons lay beside 
the abandoned hearths. Similar discoveries have been made in Portugal: 
shell heaps having been found thirty-five to eighty feet above the sea-level. 
Here, also, excavations have brought to light several different hearths, and 
in many of the most ancient kitchen middens in the valley of the Tigris 
were found crouching skeletons, proving that here, too, the home had be- 
come the tomb. * * * 

It is, however, chiefly in America that these attract attention, for there 
huge shell mounds stretch along the coast of New Foundland, Nova Scotia, 
Massachusetts, Louisiana, California, and Nicaragua. We meet with them 
again near the Orinoco and the Mississippi, in the Aleutian Islands, and in 
the Guianeas in Brazil, and in Patagonia; on the coasts of the Pacific, as on 
those of the Atlantic. * * * The kitchen middens of Florida and 
Alabama are even more remarkable. There is one on Amelia Island which 
is a quarter of a mile long, with a medium depth of three feet and a breadth 
of nearly five. That of Bear's Point covers sixty acres of ground, that of 
Anecerty Point, one hundred, and that of Santa Rosa, five hundred. 
Others taper to a great height. Turtle Mound near Smyrna is formed of 
a mass of oyster shells, attaining a height of nearlv thirty feet, and the 
height of several others is more than forty feet. In all of them bushels of 
shells have already been found, although a great part of the sites they 
occupy are still unexplored; huge trees, roots, and tropical creepers having 
in the course of m,-uiy centuries, covered them with an almost impenetrable 
thicket. At Long Neck Branch is a shell mound that extends for half a 
mile, and in California there is a yet larger kitchen midden; it measures a 
mile in length and half a mile in width, and, as in similar accumulations, 
excavations have yielded thousands of stone hammers and bone imple- 
ments The shell mounds of which we have so far been speaking are all 
near the sea, but there is yet another, consisting entirely of marine shells, 
fifty miles beyond Mobile.* 

We conclude, then, that the coasts of America are as good, 
a place for the study of the beginnings of architecture as 
Denmark, or even the regions of Mesopotamia. The -people 
may have belonged to a different race, but it may help us to 
get a very different idea of the aborigines of our country, if 
we associate them with the fishermen of Europe, for those in 
America were even more advanced in the art of boat building 
and house building, than were the ancient people of Europe. 
We have elsewhere described the houses which were erected 
amid the shell heaps on the Northwest coast, and shall now 
turn to those on the coast of Florida. The explorations of 
Mr. W. H. Moore and Mr. A. E. Douglas have brought out 
many new facts. 

•See " Prehistoric Peoples." 



















Mr. A. E. Douglas also discovered several canals in the 
shell mounds— one of them five miles long; another canal con- 
nected a lagoon, through which the interior waters were ex- 
pected to find an outlet to the sea. He speaks of the impos- 
ing appearance of the shell mounds and thinks that some of 
them were designed as lookouts or sites of houses. He refers, 
also, to elevated roadways leading from the mounds to a lake 
or water course or village, thus proving that the mounds may 
have been sites for houses. 

Mr. William Bartram speaks of Mt. Royal as a magnificent 
mound, twenty feet high and 300 feet in diameter, as attended 
with a roadway. He says: 

A noble Indian highway leads from the great mound in a straight line 
three-quarters of a mile, through an awful forest of live oaks. It was 
terminated bv palms and laurel magnolias in the maze of an oblong arti- 
ficial lake, which was on the edge of a greater savannah. This general 
highway was about fifty yards wide, sunk a little below the common level 
and the earth thrown up on each side, making a bank about two feet high. 

There are sand mounds on the coast of Florida, which to 
all appearances were erected at the same time as the kitchen 
middens. There are on the Northwest coast kitchen middens 
in which are canals, harbors for canoes, and the remains of 
houses which resemble those which are still occupied by the 
Klamath Indians, These are evidently modern, but they show 
that the same mode of life and the same customs continued 
for thousands of years, even when there was no connection 
between the people. The same stage of society may have been 
reached by the people on the coast of America much later 
than those on the coast of Europe; the fact, however, that 
so much time elapsed between the kitchen middens of Nor- 
way and Denmark and those on the coasts of America, shows 
how prolonged this stage of semi-civilization has been upon 
the earth. 

H. Another class of coast structures has been recently 
brought to light off the coast of Florida. We shall, therefore, 
take up the description of these as excellent specimens of the 
skill of the prehistoric people. They have been associated 
with [the sand mounds and shell heaps of Florida, but they 
show a more advanced stage, and should probably be classed 
with the mounds and earthworks of the Gulf States, tor it is 
the opinion of Dr. D. G. Brinton, Prof. F. W. Putnam and 
others that they were erected by the same people. 

The object of these remarkable "shell keys " is unknown, 
but they appear to have been walls, which surrounded the sea- 
girt habitation of an ancient and unknown people. The " reef 
raised sea walls of shell" surrounded central, half natural 
lagoons, or lake courts, with the " many-channeled enclosures," 
which, when surrounded by the dwellings of the people who 
erected them, must have made the island resemble a modern 
Venice. The houses were probably constructed altogether of 


wood, and perhaps covered with thatched roofs. The canals 
within the lagoon were dug out of low, swampy ground, and 
-were lined with earth walls, which were covered with a tangled 
forest; making the ancient village resemble the villages on the 
coast of Benares or the Philippine Islands, more than the 
European Venice. 

The islands lack the outside reefs which are found in the 
Caroline Islands, and there are no such artificial breakwaters, 
as are there; nor are there any such massive stone enclosures 
and shrines. 

These were discovered and described by Mr. F. H. Gushing. 
The following is his account of his explorations and a descrip- 
tion of their character and appearance: 

I was not much delayed in securing two men and a little fishing sloop, 
such as It was, and in sailing forth one glorious evening late in May, with 
intent to explore as many as possible of the islands and capes of Charlotte 
Harbor, Pine Island Sound, Caloosa Bay, and the lower more open coast as 
far as Marco. 

The astonishment I felt in penetrating into the interior of the very first 
encountered of these thicket-bound islets, may be better imagined than 
described, when, after wadmg ankle deep in the slimy and muddy shoals, 
and then alternately clambering and floundering for a long distance among 
the wide-reaching interlocked roots of the mangroves, 1 dimly behtld in 
the somber depths of this sunless jungle of the waters, a long, nearly 
straight, but enormous embankment of piled-up conch shells. 13eyond it 
were to be seen (as in the illustration given) other banks, less high, not 
always regular, but forming a range of distinct enclosures of various sizes 
and outlines; nearly all of them open a little at either end, or at opposite 
sides, as if for outlet and inlet. 

Threading this zone of boggy bins, and leading in toward a more cen- 
tral point, were here and there open ways like channels. They were formed 
by parallel ridges of shells, increasing in height toward the interior, until 
at last they merged into a steep, somewhat extended bench, also of shells, 
and flat on the top like a platform. Here, of course, at the foot of the 
platform, the channel ended in a slightly broadened cove, like a landing 
place; but a graded depression or pathway ascended from it and crossed 
this bench or platform, leading to and in turn climbmg over, or rather 
through another and higher platform, a slight distance beyond. In places, 
off to the side on either bank, were still more of these platforms, rising 
terrace-like, but very irregularly, from the enclosures beiow to the founda- 
tions of great level-topped mounds, which, like worn-out, elongated and 
truncated pyramids, loftily and imposnigly crowned the whole; some of 
them to a height of nearly thirty feet above the encircling sea. The bare 
patches along the ascents to the mounds were, like the ridges below, built 
up wholly of shells, great conch shells chiefly, blackened by exposure for 
ages; and ringing like their potsherds when disturbed even by the light 
feet of the raccoons and little brown rabbits, that now and then scuddled 
across them <rom covert to covert, and that seemed to be, with the ever- 
present grosbeaks above, and with many lizards and some few rattlesnakes 
and other reptiles below, the principal dwellers in those lonely keys — if 
swarming insects mavbe left unnamed! 

Wherever revealed, the surface below, like the bare spaces themselves, 
proved to be also of shells, smaller or much broken on the levels and 
gentler slopes, and mingled with scant black mold on the wider terraces, 
as though these had been tormed with a view to cultivation, and supplied 
with soil from the rich muck beds below. Here, also, occurred occasional 
potsherds and many worn valves of gigantic clams and pieces of huge 
shells that appeared to have been used as hoes and picks or other digging 
tools, and this again suggested the idea that at least the wider terraces — 
many of which proved to be not level but filled with basin-shaped depres- 


sions or bordered by retain- 
ing walls — had been used as 
garden plats, supplied with 
soil from the lich muck beds 
below. But the margins of 
these, whether raised or not, 
and the edges of even the 
lesser terraces, the sides of 
the graded ways leading up to 
or through them, and especi- 
ally the slopes of the greater 
mounds, were all of unmixed 
shell, in which, as in the 
barren patches, enormous, 
nearly square-sized conch 
shells prevailed. 

Such various features, seen 
one by one, mipressed me 
more and more forcibly, as 
indicating general design — a 
structural origin of at least 
the enormous accumulations 
of she'll I was so slowly and 
painfully traversing; if not, 
indeed, of the entire key or 
islet. Still, my mind was 
not, perhap?, wholly dis- 
abused of the prevalent 
opinion that these and like 
accumulations or capes of 
the neighboring mainland 
were primarily stupendous 
shell heaps, chiefly the un- 
disturbed refuse remaining 
from ages of intermittent 
aboriginal occupation, until 
I had scaled the topmost of 
the platforms. 'Ihenlcould 
see that the vast pile on 
which I stood, and of which 
the terraces I had climbed, 
were, in a sense, irregular 
stages, formed in reality a 
single, prodigious elbow- 
shaped foundation, crowned 
at its bend by a definite 
group of lofty, narrow, and 
elongated mounds, that 
btretched fan-like across its 
summit, like the thumb and 
four hngers of a mighty out- 
spread hand. Bevond, more- 
over, were other gre'at founda- 
tions, bearmg aloft still other 
groups of mounds, their de- 
clivities thickly overgrown, 
but their summits betokened 
by the bare branches of 
gumbo limbos, whence had 
come, no doubt, the lone- 
sounding songs of the gros- 
beaks, They stood, these 
other foundations, like the 
sundered ramparts of some vast and ruined fortress, along one side and. 


across the further end of a deep, open space or quadrangular court, more 
than an acre in extent, level and as closely covered with mangroves, and 
other tidal growths at the bottom, as were the entire swamps. It was 
apparent that this had actually been a central court of some kind, had 
probably been formed as an open lagoon by the gradual upbuilding on 
attol-tike reefs or shoals around deeper water, of those foundations or 
ramparts, as I have called them, from even below tide level to their 
present imposing height. 

The elevation I had ascended, stood at the northern end and formed 
one course of this great inner court, the slope of which from the base of 
the mounds was unbroken by terraces and sheer; but, like the steepest 
ascents outside, it was composed of large weather-darkened conch shells, 
and was comparatively bare of vegetation. Directly down the middle of 
this wide incline led, between the two first mounds, a broad, sunken path- 
way, very deep here, near the summit, as was the opposite and similarily 
graded vvay I had in part followed up, but gradually diminishing in depth 
as it approached the bottom, in such manner as to render much gentler the 
descent to the edge of the swamp. Here numerous pierced busycon shells 
lay strewn about, and others could be seen protruding from the marginal 
muck. A glance sufficed to show that they had all been designed for tool 
heads, hafted similarly, but used for quite different purposes. The long 
colun.nellse of some were battered as if they had once been employed as 
hammers or picks, while others were sharpened to chisel- or gauge-like 
points and edges. Here, too, shreds of pottery were much more .abundant 
than even on the upper terraces. This struck me as especially significant, 
and I ventured forth a little way over the yielding quagmire and dug between 
the sprawling mangroove fingers, as deeply as I could with only a stick, 
into the water-soaked muck. Similarly worked shells and shreds of pot- 
tery, inter-mingled with charcoal and bones, were thus revealed. These 
were surprisingly fresh, not as though washed into the place from above, 
but as though they had fallen and lodged where 1 found them, and had 
been covered with water ever since. Here, at least, had been a water- 
court, around the margins of which, it would seem, places of abode whence 
these remains had been derived — houses rather than landings — had clust- 
ered, ere it became chocked with debris and vegetal growth; or else it was 
a veritable haven of ancient waves and pile dwellings, safe alike from tidal 
wave and hurricane within these gigantic ramparts of shell, where through 
the channel gateways to the sea, canoes might readily come and go. It 
occurred to me. as I made my way through one of tnese now filled-up 
channels, that the enclosures they passed through were probably other 
courts — margined by artificial bayous, some of them, no doubt, like the one 
at Key Marco — and that perhaps the longest of them, had not only been 
inhabited also, but that some were representative of incipient stages in the 
formation of platforms or terraces, and within these, as the key was thus 
extended, of other such inner courts as the one I have here described. 

As to the boats which were used by the inhabitants of 
these island keys, we have little information; but, judging from 
those which were used in other lands, we must conclude, that 
they were as skillfully constructed as were the reefs themselves. 

It will be remembered that large canoes were seen by 
De Soto and his followers, as they reached the " great father 
of waters," the Mississippis; Some of them capable of hold- 
ing as many as fifty warriors at a time, and were propelled 
with great force. Large canoes, skillfull)' wrought and of 
beautiful proportions, are even now used by the natives off the 
coast of Washington; showing a great proficiency in the art of 
boat building. They may be taken as marking the beginnings 
of naval architecture. No such canoes have been discovered 
in these island keys, but, judging from the highly wrought 

! ■ Mt. 





wooden implements and curious masks which have been dug 
out from the depths of the lagoons, we may conclude that the 
people were not only capable of constructing such boats, but 
often used tnem in passing from one island to another, and 
from the islands to the shore. 

Here, we would call attention to the animal figures on the 
tablets, which were discovered on the site of this ancient vil- 
lage. They remind us of the human figures carved upon the 
fronts of the houses in the villages of the Northwest coast. 
The tablets were found in the water, but they may have origi- 
nally been attached to the house fronts. 

Mr. Gushing has described these and has given an explana- 
tion of their significance. They show a mingling of animal 
and human resemblances, and give us an idea of the religious 
conceptions of the people who dwelt here: a religion which 
consisted mainly in the transforming of animals into human 
beings, and human beings into animals; the lines of separation 
between them being obliterated and all of them regarded as 
supernatural beings. 

We do not claim for the ancient peoples, who erected these 
massive earthworks around their island homes and faced them 
with conch shells, any superiority over the white man; nor do 
we mamtain that there was any such civilization in prehistoric 
times, as prevails at the present; yet the view which has been 
given of this ancient American Venice convinces us that the 
aboriginal civilization has been greatly underrated. Certainly 
there is no island city in modern times, which can compare 
with these in their peculiar adaptation to the forces of Nature 
and to the prevailing animal life. Here, in the midst of the 
waves were contrivances for the rising of the tide and 
catching such schools of fish as might come from out of the 
depths of the sea, and at the same time there was an abund- 
ance of forest trees to invite the birds of the air, especially 
those which gained their subsistence from the water. Beneath 
the trees and above the lagoons the people erected their houses, 
and apparently lived in peace with the creatures of the air and 
water; understood all their ways, and found their happiness in 
communing with Nature in its different moods. Whatever we 
may say about the architecture of the buildings, which have 
perished, we may conclude that there was here the perfection 
of art, which always consists in being artless. Various opinions 

Note.— The following description refers to Plates A and B: Plate A — These wooden imple- 
ments are worthy of notice, for they represent handles of conch-shell gouges or hoes or picks 
Fig. i; the handles of carving adzes, Figure 2- also single and double-holed atlatls or spear- 
throwers, one with a carved rabbit head, Figs. 3 and 4; hardwood sabre clubis, armed with sharp 
teeth, from twenty-four to thirty inches in length, probably like the war clubs of the Zuni 
Indians, corresponding to the length of the arm or of the thigh from hip to knee of those who 
used them, Fig. 5. Among these are two toy canoes; one of them probably an imitation of a 
sea-going canoe of the ancient Key-Dwellers, Fig. 6; another representing the flat-bottomed 
canoes used in canals, bayous, and shaol waters, Fig. 7; also a paddle of hardwood, the end of 
which was burned off. 

Various animal figure heads were also discovered (See Plate B): one representing a wolf with 
large ears, Fig. i; another, the human features, Fig. 2; another with the pelicanjs head and neck 
gracefully wrought ?ud realis'ically painted, Fig. 3; still another with the human face painted 
on it, Fig. 4. These were masks and represented the animal and human divinities which were 
worshipped by the people. 


have been expressed as to the people who erected these 

I\Ir. Gushing thinks that these keys, with their open channels 
and lesser enclosures, were the rookeries and fish-drives and fish- 
pools of a sea-farin^ people, who for some reason had forsaken 
the mainland and had niade their homes on these isolated 
islands, but at the same time were agriculturalists, though they 
were compelled to gather the soil out from the depths of the 
water and make artificial gardens, in which they raised such 
vegetables and plants as they used. In this respect they prob- 
ably resemble the famous Lake-Dwellers, who thousands of 
years before had placed their homes above the waters of the 
lakes of Switzerland, and subsisted upon fish, which there 
abounded; but resorted to the land for raising their cereals and 
the gathering of fruits. The wonder is, that they should have 
dared the storms and presumed to have built up their break- 
waters out of such fragile material as the conch shells and earth 
combined, without any outside reef or sea wall to protect them 
from the furious waves. That they could, however, liv'e here 
on these islands in security, is evident, from the fact that vari- 
ous white men have within a few years cleared and cultivated, 
as a fruit and vegetable garden, some of these very island ke)'s. 
These white men (fishermen) have built platforms, constructed 
landings, and converted the ancient gardens into vegetable 
farms; but have not constructed any such massive earthworks 
or breakwaters as did the prehistoric people. 

The prehistoric, people who settled upon these islands and 
built these lagoons, were not so lonely as we might at first 
think, as there are many other artificial keys in the same 
vicinit)- — large and small; some nearer the shore and others 
further away .Mr. Gushing says there are 150 in number which 
show signs of having been occupied in prehistoric times by the 
same people. 

The reason for resorting to these isolated spots are unknown, 
but there may have been invasions from wild tribes, such as 
came down from the North and drove the Mound- Builders of 
the Ohio valley from their chosen seats and compelled them 
to mingle with the tribes further south. These movements of 
the ancient population are not recorded in history, nor are 
there any traditions concerning them; but judging from the 
relics which have been exhumed and the earthworks which 
have been examined, we may conclude that they were similar 
to those prehistoric people who built the pyramid mounds and 
chunky yards, which are now found in all the river valleys of 
the South. 

We have shown elsewhere that some of these platform 
mounds were designed as refuges from high water, and that 
they were occupied by an ancient people, who were thoroughly 
organized into villages and were ruled by chiefs and priests. 
By way of comparison we shall call attention to Mr. Cushing's 
(/escription of the platforms in the midst of the lagoons, to 


the graded ways by which they were reached, as well as to the 
long, narrow earth walls which surrounded the lagoons and so 
made artificial enclosures; they are actually the same models 
in the midst of the sea, that are found upon the land; scattered 
through the Gulf States. Here the platforms were used as the 
foundations for the Great Houses of the ruling classes. The 
elevated mounds mark the sites of ancient temples and council 
houses. Walls, similar to the ridges, were constructed around 
the fish-ponds, and within them the houses of the common 
people were placed; an open court being left in the center 
of the village for public gatherings, and for the celebration of 

HI. These structures, situated off the coast of Plorida, 
lead us to another and very different class of works, namely, 
the pile-dvvellings and maritime villages which are so common 
in the islands of the Pacific. These, present specimens of 
architecture which are unique and various, but they remind us 
of those which anciently existed in Europe, though they are 
still occupied. 

Such pile-villages and maritime structures have engaged the 
attention of many writers and have often been described. Of 
them Mr. Nadaillac says: 

There is really nothing to surprise us in the fact of buildings rising 
from the midst of waters, they were known in early historic times, 
Heroditus relates that the inhabitatants of pile-dwellings on Lake Prasias 
sucessfully repelled the attacks of the Peisians. Alonzo De Ojeda, the 
companion of Americo Vespucio, speaks of a village consisting of twenty 
large houses built on piles, in the midst of a lake, to which he gave the 
name of \^enezuela, in honor of Venice his native town. 

We meet with pile dwellings in our own day in the Celebes in New 
Guinea, in Java, in Benares, and in the Caroline Islands. Sir Richard 
Burton saw pile-dwellmgs at Dahomey; Capt. Cameron, on the lakes of 
Central Africa; and the Bishop of I.ebuon tells us that the houses of the 
Dayaks are built on lofty platforms on the shores of rivers.* 

Dean Worcester has described some of those in the 
Philippine Islands and has given several cuts of them.f 
Some of them were constructed by the Moros. a tribe which 
played an important part in the history of the Philippines, 
but who entered the archipelago from Borneo near the 
Spanish Discovery. They, no doubt, introduced a style of 
architecture from their native islands. The houses are 
placed upon wooden platforms, which are in turn supported 
by piles, but which are connected with the land b}^ a nar- 
row bridge; the}^ are rectangular in shape and covered with 
a peaked roof, which has a gable end and is thatched with 
straw; the sides seem to be made of bamboo. There are 
canoes floating in the water that resemble the dug-outs of 
the American aborigines. 

Another cut represents a Moro village, jilaced upon piles 
so near the coast that, when the tide goes out, they are con- 

•See " Prehistoric Peoples," page 145. 

f See " The Philippine Islands," by iJean Worcester; pages 37, 150 and 391. 


nected with the land, but at hij^h tide are reached by rude 
bridges or boats. They resemble the pile-villages of Switz- 
erland in many respects. 

The houses of the Tagbuanas resemble the pile-dwellings 
of the Moros in some respects, but are built above the land, 
instead of above the water. They are perched high up in 
the air and are supported by palm and bamboo piles. They 
also have a pitched roof, and bamboo sides. The Tag- 
buanas are wild, yet they have a simple syllabic alphabet 
and scratch their letters in vertical columns on bamboo 

The houses of the Magyars are very rude, for several 
families herd together on a platform of poles protected by 
a rude roof of rattan leaves. These people are said to be 


head hunters. The Mindoros have more permanent houses, 
though they are very small and unsubstantial. Store houses 
for grain are placed upon rude frame-works above old 
stumps, and are mere thatched roofs which cover a plat- 

Village life prevails in the Philippine Islands, but the 
villages are composed of .separate houses; very inau}^ of 
them elevated above the ground and held in place by poles 
which resemble piles. A Tagalog village, which is repre- 
sented in a plate, resembles very closel}' a Swiss lake- 
village. The houses are situated on platforms in a row, 
alongside of a canal, and are built in very much the same 
shape as the Swiss lake-dwellings are. Canals are very 




common in the Philippines; they radiate from the rivers in 
various directions. Fishe"rmen, canoemen, and laundrymen 
live in huts over the low "i^round near the canals. 

In Tondo one finds the genuine native houses, with bam- 
boo frames and tloors, roofed and sided with palm. De- 
structive fires are frequent in this quarter. Earthquakes 
are common, as a result one rarely sees buildin<is more than 
two stories hijfh. Livinj;- rooms are almost invariably on 
the second stories, the g^round floor being- used mainly for 
shops, servants' quarters, offices, or store-rooms. 

IV. Our last point will be in reference to the pile-dwellings 
or pile-villages of Switzerland and the terramares of Italy. 
These very ancient structures represent a phase of architecture 
and a style of civilization which prevailed before the opening 
of history in Europe, but they resemble the structures which 
are now seen on the Pacific coast and in our New Possessions 
and are still occupied. 

The discovery of these was a surprise to the European 

archaeologists. It took 
place in 1853, at a time 
nof long drought, when 
L'the extraordinary sink- 
ing of Lake Zurich re- 
vealed the piles, still 
standing, and betw^een 
the piles the ancient 
hearths, pestles, ham- 
mers, pottery, hatchets, 
and implements of many 
kinds with innumerable 
objects of daily use. 
Nadaillac says: 

These relics prove that 
some of the ancient inhabi- 
tants of Switzerland had 
dwelt on the lake as a refuge, to which they had probably retired to 
escape troni the attacks of the.r fellow men or wild beasts. The discovery 
of these piles excited general interest, which was redoubled when similar 
discoveries revealed the fact that all the lakes of Switzerland were dotted 
with stations which had l^een built long centuries before. Twenty such 
stations were made out on Lake Bienne, twenty-four on Lake Geneva, 
thirty on Lake Constance, forty-nine on Lake Neuchatel, and others on 
Lakes Sempach, Morat, Moosed'orf, and Pfeffikon. In fact, more than two 
hundred lake-stations are now known in Switzerland. 

The lake-dwellings of Switzerland may be ascribed to 
three different periods: the first is distinguished by small 
axes and coarse pottery, which had no traces of ornamenta- 
tion; that of the second period had large, well-made 
hatchets, .some of them of nephrite and jade, the pottery is 
finer and is ornamented including chevrons and other de- 
signs, but without handles; a third, by copper weapons and 
tools, a few specimens of bronze, by stone hatchets skill- 



fully pierced, by pottery vases provided with handles and 
covered with ornaments, bead necklaces, pendants, buttons, 
needles, horn combs, amulets made of the teeth of animals, 
tools fixed into handles of stag horns, by the remains of 
seeds, grains and cereals, and fruits of various kinds. 

The distance from the shore of the rriost ancient lake- 
dwellings vary from 131 to 298 feet. Of the most recent 
stations, from 656 to 984 feet. The piles of the early age 
from eleven to tw^elve inches in diameter; those of the later 
epochs are smaller. Care was taken to consolidate them 
and keep them in position with blocks ofstone and tiers of 
piles. Keller gives to thiese latter the name " jjackwer- 
bauten'"; others call them "steinbergen." Keller says: 

Household utensils, beds of charcoal, ashes, hearth stones, pottery, 
remains of wild animals, and the piles show that there had once been a 
regular settlement (or village) The piles stand in close rows and when 
covered with horizontal timbers aud boards formed a scaffolding founda- 
tion for the erection of thedwellmgs. We know very little of the shape of the 
huts, except that they were built of poles and hurdle (or wattlework), coated 
on the outside with clay. The clay was spread on the floor inside the huts, 
in some cases mixed with gravel, forming a kind of plaster floor. In the 
middle of the hut was a hearth, made of slabs and rough sandstone. The 
roof consisted of the bark of trees, straw, and rushes, the remains of which 
have been preserved in the sand. The occupations of the settlers were of 
many kinds, but may be divided into the operations of tishing, hunting, 
pasturage, and agriculture. In some of the earlier settlements fishing nets 
and fish hooks made of bears' tusks have been found. The bones, which 
are found in such great numbers, show that there were domestic animals 
among them. Beside the lake-dwellings were to be found stones for crush- 
ing and grinding grain, or mealing stones, and the gram itself has been 

found. • J • 

The tilling of the land must have been simple, and consisted in tearing 
it up by means of stag hnrns or crooked sticks, as is done in America. 
The tillage would have to be enclosed by hedges, as a protection against 
animals. ^The settlers cultivated flax of excellent quality, which was spun 
into threads by means of spindle whorls. Use of the loom was common. 
Large trunks of trees were hollowed out by fire and by stone celts, and 
used for canoes. Oak poles were used for spear shafts; mallets and clubs 
were made out of the knots of trees; boards were hewn out for the dwell- 
ings; earthern vessels were found in great abundance; urns with a large 
bulge and thin sides; a few flat plates and large pots, used for cooking, 
have been found. The vessels were ornamented with bosses, or with im- 
pressions made with the finger, or an occasional zig-zag ornament. 

The oldest settlement began in that dark period when the use of metals 
was unknown, but no difference is to be discovered in the construction of 
the lake dwellings, between the earliest and latest age. The fact that the 
erections of the Transition and Bronze Ages were built more substantially, 
was owing to the use of better tools. It has been remarked that on com- 
paring the implements of the Stone and Bronze Ages from the lake- 
dwellings with those which were found in mounds and in graves and those 
met by chance on the field, we are not able to discover the smallest differ- 
ence, either in material, form, or ornamentation. The identity of the in- 
habitants of the mainland with those of the lake dwellings appears still 
more striking, if we compare the settlements (villages). T^e endeavor of 
the settlers to live together in a sociable manner, is positive proof that they 
had and knew the advantages of a settled (village) mode of life, and we 
have to look upon them, not as a wandering, pastoral people, still less as a 
hunting and fishing race. 



A very interesting subject is presented by the study of 
architecture, and especially of its be^innins^s. What was the 
origin of the architectural orders ? We propose to follow it in 
connection with the prehistoric works of America. By 
anal\zing these and tracing them through their different stages 
of growth, we may discover what are the essential elements in 
these orders, and so gain man)* hints as to their origin. 

This study has. to be sure, generally been confined to his- 
toric countries, and the effort has been always to trace the 
various architectural forms and styles back to tlie earl\' his- 
toric period, and there to discover the sources from which they 
sprang. The difficult}' has always been, however, that about 
the time that students imagined that they had reached the 
beginnings or first stages, the tokens had disappeared, and so 
they have lost the clue. 

The effort has recently met with more success than was 
anticipated, and there are those who think they have solved 
the riddle of the Sphinx. It is due to the archii^ologists 
rather than the architects, for they have been very persevering 
in their efforts to discover these early stages, and they have 
not been diverted by the prospect of gain, nor hindered by the 
difficulties in their way, but have made great sacrifices in order 
to ascertain the points set before them. The archiuological 
discoveries made in Greece, Troy, Egypt and Assyria have car- 
ried the history of architecture very far back to its sources, 
and we now have at MNcenit, the Lion's Gate, which gives to us 
a clue, both to the history of the arch and column together. 
This is a ver\- interesting structure, and is supposed to have, so 
far as Greece is concerned, antedated the appearance of the 
architectural orders, as it was erected before the Doric migra- 
tion; before the Ionic nation had arisen, and even Ijefore 
Corinth had come into power. The ]\Iycen;uan art, according 
to Tsountas, anticipated the Athenian elegance and introduced 
what has been called the Myccna-an Age. He says: 

As an outcome of the discoveries made, there stands revealed a distinct 
and homogeneous civilization, a civilization so singular in many respects, 
that scholars have been slow to see in it a phase of unfolding 
Hellenic culture At fir<;t, it was pronounced exotic and barbarous, but the 
wider the area laid under contribution and brought into comparison, the 
stronger has grown the evidence, if not the demonstration, of its substanii- 
allv indigenous and Hellenic character. To-day, architologists eenerally, 
while allowing more or less for foreign influence, bold to this Hellenic view 
(if it may be so called); and it is hoped that the present work will contribute 
somewhat to its full demonstration. 

In Greece, the different stages of jirogress have been traced. The earth 
and wood huts, which the Phrygians, dwelling in the valleys, were wont to 
construct, marked the first stage. These were changed into brick and into 
stone, and in that peculiar form of primitive dwelling, according to Adler, 


was carried by Pelops into Pelopennesus as the proper type of a royal 
tomb. It is a familiar fact that primitive man modeled the dwelling of the 
dead upon the habitation of the living. No people ever copied another 
people's dwellino^ in the construction of their tombs, and the Phrygian huts 
were not of a kind to invite copying. Tombs worthy of comparison with 
the Mycona'an arc yet to be found in Phrygia. Even the Carian tombs differ 
materiallv from the Mycena'an. Perot, who favored the Carian derivation 
of the domed tombs of Greece, now admits that those tombs are dis- 
tinguished from the Asiatic specimens with which they are compared by 
marked and numerous pcculiariiies. 

In huts like these, it would seem, the peoples of northern Europe once 
dwelt, for tombsapproachmg the Mycenaan types are found in Scandinavia 
and elsewhere. There is, then, no reason for regarding this type as pecu- 
liar to the Phrygians; any rigorous climate affords a rainon d'etre. And 
there is nothing in the way of our assuming that there was a time when the 
Mycen;eans likewise lived with their herds in similar earth and wood huis. 
half sunk in the ground. True, the ordinarily mild climate of Greece does 
not drive the inhabitants to seek shelter from the cold in cover; and, hence, 
we may safely conclude that the people, whose vaulted t(mibs perpetuate 
the type of those huts, came into Greece from more northern countries. 

'i he radical difference between these domed and chambered tombs and 
the simple shaft graves, as we find ihem in the Myceniean citadel, points 
clearly to a difference of race in the peoples who fashioned them. The rare 
that copied in stone, their conical huts to serve as royal tombs could hardly 
have been the same who laid their princes in rude pits and heaped the 
earth above them. The men who sunk the shaft graves must have belonged 
to another race - or at least another stem— which had been early wonted to 
a different type of dwelling And, in fact, we have already observed at 
Mycen;v a type of dwelling which differs from the earth huts, as radically 
as'the shaft grave differs from the bee-hive or chamber tomb, i hese are 
the two-story houses, whose ground floors are without either door or wmdow. 
and must have served simply as storerooms, while the upper storv alone 
was used as a dwelling. That the genesis of these houses must have differed 
widely from thai of the sunken huts is self evident. Now we know that 
the aiicient Italians built their houses on raised foundations. And it is an 
aseertained fact that two-siory houses whose ground floors were used solely 
to stable the cattle were customary among the Germans. Celts, Slavs, and 
even among the Aryans of India; that is to say, among nearly all the peo- 
[jles of the Indo-Pairopean family. And, beside these iwo-storv houses 
built on terra firnni, we find, also, in Italy, Switzerland, Austria, Germany, 
and elsewhere, remains of primitive lake dwellings; that is to say, of houses 
built upon platforms of piles driven into the bottom of a lake or marsh. If. 
now, we are right in tracing the two-story building back to the primitive 
pile dwelling, then we may conclude that a branch of the Mycen;tan stock, 
was distinguished from another branch whose original dwelling was the 
earth and wood hut, had once been lake dwellers, and that their two-story 
stone houses were derived from the dwellings built on wooden piles above 
the water.* 

The prehistoric structures of America, also help to carry 
the subject back. They, in fact, fill up that long gap which, 
in luirope, appears between the historic and prehistoric 
works, and present such a connected series, that there is 
a complete line of progress from the most primitive condi- 
tion up to the beginning of civilization and history. 

By analyzing these different structures, we find that the rude 
hut represents the hunter stage; the earthwork represents the 
agricultural state; the adobe building represents the village 
life; and the carved and sculptured stone structures represent 

•" Mycensaa Age," pp. 248-250. 


the civilized or semi-civilized condition. The architectural 
structures certainly present to us a much more graphic 
picture than the implements can do, for the same relics 
appear throughout all these stages, and are associated 
with all the grades of society, with but very little variation, while 
the structures are closely correlated, and in their characteris- 
tics vary according to the cultus. In Europe, the material of 
which the relics are composed becomes significant of the 
cultus, but in this country it expresses nothing. The Stone 
Age and Bronze Age are not recognized, for the material of 
the implements is the same in all parts of the country, and 
under all grades of cultivation. Stone is the material which 
is characteristic, for nearly all the implements, whether found 
among the Mound-builders, Cliff-dwellers or civilized races, 
are made of stone. Even the copper which was associated with 
many of the structures was not peculiar to any stage of 
society, for it was in use as much among the savage tribes as 
among the mound-builders. Bronze has been found asso- 
ciated with the works of Mexico and Central America, but 
Bronze on this continent is certainly expressive of a very dif- 
ferent condition of society from what it is in Europe, for here 
it is associated with the sculptured stone edifices and is indica- • 
tive of civilization, while there it is associated with the Lake 
dwellings, and is indicative of a stage but little removed from 
the savage or hunter state. 

There is this advantage in taking the architectural struc- 
tures to represent the stages of cultus, that we get rid of the 
word "age," and so have no confusion from that source. We do 
not know which was the first and which last, the rude hut, 
the earthw^ork, the stone structure peculiar to the cliff dwell- 
ings, or the more elaborate buildings found in Central 
America. We have all the stages preserved to us, even the 
structures which were made of the most perishable material 
being still found, and, in fact, in daily use. Those 
stages of architecture, which, owing to the perishableness of 
the material, have, in other countries, been lost, are here pre- 
served in great freshness and definiteness of detail. 

There is no doubt, then, that America furnishes unusual 
advantages for the study of architecture in its primitive 
stages, and that here we may ascertain, if anywhere, the ori- 
gin of the architectural styles. 

We now turn to a consideration of the styles, as they are 
discovered in America. The history of architecture involves 
the study of the different parts or essential elements found in 
every structure. These elements are common and essential, 
and the growth of them ultimately constitutes, in reality, the 


history. Even the architectural styles and orders may be 
said to be dependent upon the development of these integral 
elements, which are so essential to a structure — much more 
than they are upon the ornamentation, or the mere exercise 
of the taste. This may be different from the commonly 
accepted opinion, but I think that it will be seen when we 
come to analyze the various styles and orders which have 
appeared during the historic ages. It does not appear so 
much in the study of the Greek orders, for these seem 
to have been more matters of taste and ornamentation, and 
a single architectural element, viz. : the column, appears 
in all the orders, the difference being found in the different 
styles of finishing the column. The history of architecture, 
however, must involve something more than the history of the 
column and its ornamentation. There were certain systems 
or styles of architecture which prevailed in Egypt and Assyria 
before the column came into use. There were also styles of 
architecture introduced during modern history, in which the 
column bears a very insignificant and subordinate part, so 
that, unless we rule out all those structures which were known 
to the ancient Egyptians and Assyrians, as not being archi- 
tectural, and unless we take the position that the Gothic 
style was not an order, but was something different and out- 
side of the history of architecture altogether, we must con- 
clude that there were other elements which entered into the 
development of architecture beside the column. I know that 
there are many professed architects who deny that there are 
any orders except such as come from a variation of the col- 
umn with its fixed proportions and shapes, but I maintain 
that if we are to understand architecture in its growth and 
history, we must look to its integral elements, rather than to 
its ornamentation. In a technical sense there may be only 
the three orders which may be supposed to have originated in 
the different Greek provinces, and which derive their names 
from them, and that the other orders are only results of the 
combination of these three. It matters not, however, whether, 
as architects maintain, there are three or six orders as such, 
whether we admit the Tuscan and the Roman and the Com- 
posite into the list or not, for with the subject of architecture 
in its technical sense we have nothing to do. It is architect- 
ure as a science that we are now studying, and not merely as 
an art. 

We maintain that there are integral elements in architect- 
ure, and that the pyramid, the pier and lintel, and the arch 
have served an important part in the history of architecture, 
as well as the column. In fact, these have given their char- 


acteristics to the different national styles, much more than 
the column has. We know that the Egyptians had a style of 
building which was peculiar to themselves, and we know that 
the pyramid was the structure which was peculiar to Egypt. 
If we analyze and study the subject, we shall find that the 
Egyptian style is owing to the pyramidal shape which appears 
in most of the Egyptian structures. The perpendicular col- 
umn and the rectilinear wall are, indeed, found in Egypt, but 
it seems to have been an intruded style, and that which is 
characteristic is owing more to the pyramidal shape, both of 
the walls and columns, than to any other feature. 

In the Assyrian edifices, on the other hand, we find the 
pier and lintel to be the essential elements; the peculiar 
square and angular appearance of all their structures being 
owing to this, though we find in Assyria traces of both the 
column and the pyramid. Many of the palaces of Assyria 
were erected on lofty platforms or stages, and the early Baby- 
lonian temples were built in the shape of terraced pyramids, 
but the pyramid rarely entered into their structures as a type, 
and did not affect their style. There is no doubt that the 
Greek column was borrowed from the Egyptian, but the 
Greeks never used the pyramid, and very rarely used the 
square pier in their structures. The rounded column was the 
element which gave its distinction to the Greek style. The 
Romans borrowed the column from the Greeks, but they 
passed on from this to the use of the arch in their structures, 
and the peculiarity of their style was that it was a transition 
from the column to the arch, the columnar style retrograding, 
but the arch not being perfected. 

The Gothic style was introduced after the Roman, and 
this is owing altogether to the arch, which appears in its per- 
fect state. Now, if we are to know the history of architect- 
ure, and to understand the origin of these different styles, or 
orders, we shall need to study these essential elements, which 
we have seen to be embodied in these various structures. The 
arch, the column, the pier and lintel and the pyramid all need 
to be studied in their history, and to these particular elements 
we now call attention, especially because America and her 
prehistoric works throw much light upon them in their origin 
and development. The students of architecture have long 
sought to trace these different forms to their primitive sources, 
and to show through what different stages they have grown, 
but the effort has proven unsatisfactory. The tokens have 
perished. What they seek for, however, in the historic monu- 
ments of the East, they may find in the prehistoric monu- 
ments of the West. 


It is probably well known that all of these forms, the arch, 
the column, the pier and lintel and the pyramid are found in 
America. They are found also in their various stages of 
development, so that if we would trace them to their very 
beginnings, we must study them on this continent. We speak 
of the arch here, not that we claim that America presents the 
arch in its perfection, or that even the principle of the arch is 

exhibited here, but because the 
most primitive form of the arch 
is prevalent, and because the 
history of its development can 
be studied on this continent 
better than elsewhere. 

It should be said that the 
arch is found in America in 
those various stages of devel- 
opment which enable us to car- 
ry its history back very much 
farther than is possible in East- 
ern countries. Its latest de- 
velopment here presents to us 
a form resembling strongly the 
Arch found in South America earlicstform found ixx Eastcm 

countries, while its most primitive form here is scarcely more 
advanced than we find it among the prehistoric works of Eu- 
rope. One of the earliest specimens of the arch is that found 
in Mesopotamia, and which probably belonged to the period 
in which Abraham lived. We refer now to the vaulted grave- 
chamber which is found in the Tower of Mugheir in Mesopo- 
tamia. This tower was erected, certainly, as early as 2230 
B. C. There is, however, in the palace of Uxmal, a vaulted 
room which presents the most striking resemblances to it, the 
only difference being that the vaulted roof is perfectly smooth, 
the corners of the stones having been beveled off, while, in 
the other case, the corners of the stones are left projecting 
into the room, and the ceiling thus presents projecting angles 
instead of smooth and solid surface. 

These two vaulted chambers are interesting, since they 
present the arch in the same stage of development, formed in 
either case by the layers of stone overlapping one another, 
and so meeting at the top. The difference of time must have 
been at least 3,000 years. The date of the palace at Uxmal 
is not known, but it is comparatively modern. It is, however, 
the best specimen of the form of the arch existing in America. 
Perhaps a more primitive form is that found in the Algon- 
quin huts (see p. 310), which are not made of either stone or 
adobe, but are wooden frame- works, covered with mats or skins. 




It is probable, then, if we were to look for the primordial 
form or germ of the arch, we could go no further back than 
this, and our conclusion is that the form of the arch must have 
^^s- -^^s^ _=:=== ^ been derived from 

structure, this shape 
being very common 
I among the rude and 
primitive stages of so- 
ciety everywhere. 
q This form of the 
i arch is, in fact, scarce- 
ly different from the 
conical buildings, 

,t which are supposed to 
I have been erected on 
p the platforms of the 
Palafittes or Swiss 
Lake - dwellings, and 
resembles the rude 
huts which are found 
in Africa, and among 
savage races generally. 
Now it is remarkable 
that one of the earliest 
structures in Greece, namely, the Treasury of Atreus at 
Mycenje, presents nearly the same shape, that of a cone, 
resembling a modern lime-kiln. The same shape, also, is 
foimd in the bee-hive huts of Cornwall, England, Wales and 
Scotland, and the chambered 
burial mounds which are dis- 
covered in Scotland. Thus we 
have the connecting links be- 
tween the most primitive form 
of the arch, up to its more per- 
fectly developed shape, the 
progress of development reach- 
ing a higher point in the East- 
ern hemisphere, but beginning 
at an earlier stage in America. 

We turn now to the consideration of the column, and shall 
endeavor to trace its development from its primitive forms. 
It should be said that the fancies of Vitruvius concerning the 
column, and the reason for its adoption into architecture, are 
not now considered tenable, for it has been traced back through 
various changes, and is shown to have been derived from a 

Algonquin Huts. (See page 308,) 


Conical Huts in Scotland. 


different source. If the groves were the first temples, there is 
no evidence that the column represented the trees. If there 
is a resemblance between the proportions of the different kinds 
of columns, and those proportions of the human body which 
constitute the different styles of beauty, the column has been 
shown by late researches to have been derived from a different 
source. Dr. F. Reber, who has given a very excellent treatise 
on the subject of architecture, has shown that it was derived 
from the pier, and also shown the changes through which the 
pier passed in reaching the rounded and fluted form of the 
column. His opinion is that the square pier first had its cor- 
ners beveled, thus making an octagon, and then beveled again, 
making a sixteen-sided column ; and then that the sides were 
gouged so as to make the fluted shape, the pedestal and capi- 
tal being also by degrees changed and developed. 

The earliest appearance of the column is supposed to be in 
the tomb of Beni-Hassan. Here it is found both eight-sided 
and sixteen-sided, but without any capital except a square 
block at the top. Perhaps, however, an earlier form may be 
found in the square piers, which are sometimes found connected 
with the primitive structures. There are grottoes in Egypt 
which are said to be the graves of the common people. They 
were dug out of the rocks in the side of the cliffs, and had 
narrow entrances high up in the valley, and contained roofs 
supported by piers. Perhaps a still more primitive form may 
be recognized in the pilasters or abutments which are some- 
times found in the walls of ancient works, one of the earliest 
specimens of which may be seen in the Tower at Mugheir. 
The column as seen in America has the form resembling that 
found in the tomb of Beni-Hassan, with this exception, that 
it is not fluted. The fluted column is very rare in America, if 
it exists at all. There is no such ornamentation to the column 
in America, as we find in either Egypt, Assyria or Greece. 
That ornamentation of the capital, which constituted the Greek 
orders, does not appear here at all. In fact, all those stages 
of development which are seen in historic countries, and in 
which the Greek architectural orders had their beginning, 
were not reached here. There was no capital and no base, 
but it was a simple cylinder, built into the wall, and forming 
a relief to the bare space or deadness of it, or else occasion- 
ally placed in a doorway and used as support for the lintel, 
but without any architectural features either in its proportions 
or its ornamentations. 

The main ornamentation of the column in America con- 
sisted of a series of simple bands, which were carved in relief 
around its center, or at intervals up and down its length. 


There are many specimens of the column in this form, the 
most notable being those found at Casa Grande, and at Zayi, in 
Yucatan. Here the round column is seen, not only in the 
shape of a support to the lintel of a doorway, but in clusters, 
as parts of the entablature to the fa9ade. It is found, also, 
ornamented with the raised bands, in a cluster of four, which 
forms a relief to the wall beside the doorway. The column 
is also seen in the ruins at Labna, both in the plain and orna- 
mented shape. Here it forms the jambs or sides of the 
doorway, and also is seen forming an ornamental- relief to a 
corner of the building. The column is seen in the palace at 
Uxmal, but instead of forming a support to a lintel or door- 
way, it is used only as a part of the ornamentation of the 
fa9ade, and as the support of the cornice above it. 

The history of the development of the column is here wor- 
thy of observation. There are, as we have said, no higher 
stages of development in America than those just described, 
but the progress of development in the East began where 
that in America leaves off. It appears that it was used both 
for ornamentation and support. 

Sir Gardner Wilkinson has shown that there are five or six 
different styles of ornamenting the column in Egypt, and 
from this he makes out eight separate Egyptian orders. These 
are, first, the square pillar, post or stone; second, the poly- 
gonal column, plain or fluted; third, the bud capital, the 
oldest specimen of which is found at Beni-Hassan, being com- 
posed of four plants, bound together by a sort of necking of 
fine bands. In the fourth order the capital is like an inverted 
bell. The fifth is the palm-tree column; the sixth is called the 
Isis-headed order; the seventh is called the composite order, 
the bell, palm and Isis-head being found in combination; the 
eighth order is called Osiride, from containing statues of the 
deity Osiris. 

The Greek orders, it is well known, were derived from the 
different ornamentation of the column, the Doric having the 
convex or rounded capital; the Ionic having the concave or 
scroll capital, and the Corinthian having the capital orna- 
mented with acanthus leaves. These different styles of orna- 
mentation were, however, not original with the Greeks, and 
have little to do, as to their origin, with the provinces whose 
names they bear. The Doric style was evidently borrowed 
from the Egyptians, and it now appears that the Ionic was 
borrowed from the Assyrians; while the Corinthian may be 
supposed to have borrowed the lotus-leaf from the Egyptians 
and modified it into the acanthus leaf, which is its distinctive 
feature. It is remarkable that the Greek orders should first 
appear at so high a stage of development. 


There is a great gap between the Greek architecture in 
the orders are seen, and that which immediately preceded 
it. The Cyclopean architecture, which belonged to the Pelas- 
gians, contained the column, as is seen by the specimen found 
in the lion-guarded gateway at Mycenae,* but here the column is 
used as a religious symbol, and found in a very different shape, 
the taper of it being reversed, wider at the top than at the bot- 
tom. The column has not been found in Assyria, but certain 
drawings or sculptured figures on the terraced p}Tamids at 
Koyunjik show that both the square pier and the rounded 
column were common there at a very early date. The orna- 
mentation of the capital in these bas-reliefs is quite similar to 
that which was afterward found in the Ionic stj'le. There is 
no doubt that the Greeks borrowed from the Assyrians. 

As to the ornamentation of the column in America, how- 
ever, we should say that it was probably original, having been 
developed on American soil. There is certainly nothing like 
it on the Eastern continent. 

Mr. Stevens and Mr. Prescott concur in the opinion that 
though the coincidences are sufficiently strong to authorize a 
belief that the civilization of Ancient Mexico was in some 
degree influenced by Eastern Asia, yet the discrepancies are 
so great as to carry back the communication to a very remote 
period. It is the opinion, also, of the same gentlemen, that 
these monuments are not of immemorial antiquity, the work 
of unknown men, but that they were occupied and probably 
erected by the Indian tribes in possession of the country at 
the time of the Spanish conquest ; that they are the produc- 
tion of an indigenous school of art, adapted to the natural 
circumstances of the country, and to the civil and religious 
polity then prevailing ; and that they present but very slight 
and accidental analogies with the works of any people or 
country in the Old World. 

We might follow up the subject, and show how the pier and 
lintel and the pyramid had their different stages of develop- 
ment on American soil. There is no question but that these 
architectural forms, which have had such an influence in giving 
the peculiarities of style to the architecture of different nations, 
and which, when embodied in their structures, became essen- 
tial parts of the architectural orders, may be traced back to 
a more primitive stage here than anywhere else. We leave 
the consideration of the forms as such, with the review of the 
arch and column, leaving the other two for a future time. 

We now turn to a third view of the subject, viz.: to 
a consideration of the mechanical principles which underlie the 

*See cut. 


architectural orders. The orders, we have seen, are depend- 
ent upon the forms ; the Gothic being dependent upon the 
arch, the Greek orders dependent upon the cohimn, and the 
Egyptian styles upon the pyramid, but these orders come from 
the perfected forms, and from certain principles which are em- 
bodied in them. The history of the orders, then, is the history 
of discovery, for the forms of architecture were used long 
before the principles were discovered. The discovery was the 
last and best fruit of the form, but it was the beginning of style 
or order. Invention continued a long time before the orders 
were introduced, but when the principles contained in the 
forms were discovered, then the orders made rapid progress. 

The four elements which we have seen to be so distinctive, 
and which have given their characteristics to the architectural 
styles, embody in themselves certain mechanical principles 
which make them essential. The student of natural philoso- 
phy understands that the mechanical principles are the inclined 
plane, screw, wheel and axle, lever and fulcrum. It has not 
been generally known or noticed that these common mechani- 
cal principles are at the basis of architecture, and are embodied 
in the various orders. The inclined plane is embodied in the 
pyramid, the lever and fulcrum in the lintel and pier, the screw 
in the column, and the wheel and axle, or pulley, in the arch. 
The reason why these are not noticed is that they are covered 
up. They exist in a passive state, and yet they are active. 
It is said that the arch never sleeps, and so with the pyramid, 
and the pier and lintel. The weight is the force that would 
drag down, but the mechanical principle is that which lifts up 
— one acting against the other, just as gravity, and the vital 
element or life principle are counteracting one another in the 
living organism. The law of strains is found here. The arch 
strains like a rope over a pulley; the lintel and pier like a lever 
on its fulcrum; the pyramid like the inclined plane; but grav- 
ity holds down all the parts, while the mechanical principle 
holds them up. 

Architecture involves these principles as much as machinery 
does. In one case, however, they are found in a latent or 
passive state, in the other they are active. The only differ- 
ence between a machine and a house, is that the force in one 
is active, in the other it is passive ; but the machine and the 
house contain within themselves the same principles. So the 
different structures owe their architectural qualities to these 
latent forces. Take for instance the pyramid, which is the 
simplest and most primitive of all, and you will discover in it 
the inclined plane; the stability of the pyramid being owing to 
the principle. Take, on the other hand, any of those primitive 


Arched Entrance to the Great Pyramid 
of Ghizeh. 

structures which contain within themselves chambers, such as 
the ancient tombs and palaces, and you will find in them the 
principle of the lever and the fulcrum. Take again the col- 
umnar buildings, whose beauty so impresses us, and you find 
the principle of the screw, combined with that of the lever and 
fulcrum. Take again the lofty, arched buildings of later date, 
and you find in them the principle 
of the pulley. Now it is remark- 
able that these mechanical princi- 
ples, which are so well known to 
us, were very long in being dis- 
covered, and yet I do not know 
that it is remarkable, for there 
are persons to-day who cannot tell 
the difference between a true 
arch and a false one. A writer in 
Johnson's Cyclopedia speaks of 
the arch as being very common 
and easily arrived at, and then 
refers to the Esquimaux ice hut as 
an illustration. It is plain, how- 
ever, that he did not recognize 
this principle in the true arch. The ice hut holds together 
because the blocks are frozen together, and are large enough 
so that the force of gravity holds down the ends; but let a 
heavy weight be applied to the top and one will see that there 
is no arch there. The arch was the most difficult thing to 
discover. It was not discovered until very late in history ; 
in fact it is unknown in ancient architecture, and was not 
introduced until after the time of the Roman Empire. 

It is interesting to trace the efforts of the ancients to em- 
body these different principles in their architectural structures. 
There is, for instance, in the pyramid of Cheops, which is the 
oldest of the pyramids, a chamber, which contains a series of 
heavy stones, in the form of lintels, one above the other, and 
at the top of the chamber two massive stones inclining toward 
one another, thus making a support as a roof for the chamber, 
on the inside of the pyramid; but the only mechanical princi- 
ple which is reached is that embodied in the pyramid itself, 
for we have in the chamber the lintel without the pier, and the 
arch without the key-stone, and no mechanical principle em- 
bodied in them. Something a little nearer to the right con- 
ception of the arch, we may discover in some of the Cyclopean 
structures which are found in Greece. A specimen is found 
in the wall of Tiryns, near Mycenae. It is composed of huge 


Wall of Tiryns. 

masses of rock, roughly hewn and piled up together, with the 

interstices at the angles filled up with small stones, but with- 
out mortar or cement of any kind. 
An illustration of this is given 
herewith. The date of this is not 

Next to this, in the stage of 
development and in the order of 
time, the Treasury of Atreus may 
be mentioned. We have referred 
to this before. This is the oldest 
existing structure in Greece, of 
regular form, and shows how early 
the Greeks made an attempt at 
building the arch. In none of 

these, however, is the principle of th e ar ch embodied, the 

layers of stone only over- 

lap one another, and so 
lean over the sides of the 
arch, but they are not 
wedged together, nor is 
there any key-stone. The 
most remarkable specimen 
of the arch in an unper- 
fected form, is that found 
in the lion-guarded gate 

Treasury of Atreus. 

at Mycenae. It is remarkable for various particulars. It 

contains the pier and lintel, which 
form the sides and top-piece or 
cap-stone of the gate-way. It 
contains a column resting on the 
center of the lintel, and also the 
form of the arch, the massive 
stones of the wall overlapping 
and making a vaulted space 
around and above the gateway, 
j^. but the arch is without the key- 
stone, and the top of it rests upon 
■_, the column, the column being 
^ supported by the lintel. In this 
way the weight is divided; the 

Lion-Guarded Gateway of Mycenae. strain of the arch falls tO the 

ground on either side, but that immediately above is con- 
veyed by the column to the lintel, and is supported by the 
piers which form the sides of the gateway. It is a most 
marvellous attempt to substitute the form for the principle. 


Campbell's Tomb. 

and to substitute the principle that is in the column and the 
pier and lintel, for that which should be embodied in the arch. 
This specimen may have belonged to the period of the Trojan 

It is unknown whether the Egyp- 
tians understood the principle of the 
arch, or not. Fergusson and others 
maintain that they did, but that they 
were averse to using it, the heavy 
pyramidal being their favorite style. 
Rawlinson, in his History of Egypt, 
considers it doubtful. The structure 
known as Campbell's Tomb, for in- 
stance, is built up of good masonry, 
covered by three stones as struts, over 
which was a perfectly formed, vous- 
soired arch. The date of this tomb is 
not known. 

One of the earliest specimens of the 
true arch is probably found in the 
palace of Nimrud. It consists of an 
arched covering to a sewer, and prob- 
ably belongs to the time of Nebu- 
chadnezzar, 625 B. C. It certainly was not earlier than the 
time of Tiglath Pileser, 900 B. C. It is strange that the 
Greeks and Egyptians, with all their progress in architecture, 
never discovered the principle of the true arch. The Ro- 
mans seem to have possessed it, 
and embodied it as one of the 
principal features of their archi- 
tecture. Much of the extent and 
magnificence of the architectural 
works of the Romans is owing to 
— _ ^-T their knowledge and use of it. 
^. Srr> The Gothic, however, is the style 
i— ^>^ which, of all the orders known to 
history, most beautifully embod- 
ied the arch. It is not known 
whence this pointed architecture 
was derived, but it has been sup- 
posed that the Arabs, who learned 
the principle of the arch from the 
Assyrians, introduced it into Eu- 
rope, where it was combined with 
the Roman. 

Considering the fact of the almost simultaneous introduc- 
tion of the pointed arch to the various nations of Europe, 


Arched Covering to a Sewer. 


immediately after the first crusade, and that it was commonly 
used in the East before that time, the most satisfactory theory 
seems to be that it was introduced by the crusaders in the 
Holy Land, and it was derived by them from the Saracens. 

Temple at Ephesus. 

The term Gothic has been applied to it, but it is no more 
Gothic than Celtic. The Goths ov^erran Europe and found 
the Celtic monuments* there, but the}' left no architecture of 
their own. It more properly is Christian, for it is the style 
in which the largest cathedrals have been erected, and is 
rarely used except for church architecture. 

Now, as to the column, and the mechanical principle con- 
tained in it, a few words should be said in explanation. The 
principle embodied in the column is nearly the same as that in 
the pier and lintel, and so it might be difficult to see that there is 
any mechanical principle at the basis of the Greek orders. I 
think, however, that the contrast between any building which 
has a bare wall surrounding it, and a building erected after the 
Greek style, with a series of columns adorning it, and support- 
ing the roof which projects beyond the walls, shows the point 
clearly. A wall may have buttresses or pilasters and so present 


the form of the pier on its surface, but the beauty of the Greek 
style was owing to the fact that the columns were separate from 
the wall, and actually independent of the building. Now 
there is this difference in the conception of the columnar style 
by other nations and that which is peculiar to the Greeks, that 
the column was often made only a matter of ornament, as a 
relief to the wall, while the Greeks made it to perform a sep- 
arate office, or in other words, used it as a real support. The 
Greek orders, then, did really embody the mechanical princi- 
ple, as all of them required that the column should be separate 
from the wall. The progress of development of the Greek 
architecture also shows this, for at the first appearance the col- 
umn was placed distyle in atitis, that is, two columns between 
two walls, in front of the porch. At ever}- stage of advance, 
however, the column became more and more independent or 
separate from the building itself, but became more and more 
essential as support for the roof. In order to show this point, 
we give herewith a cut of the ancient temple at Ephesus, 
restored. This cannot be considered as a specimen of primi- 
tive architecture, for it belongs to a most advanced stage, but 
it illustrates the columnar style, as contrasted with the pyram- 
idal and the arched. It will be noticed that there is a striking 
resemblance between this temple and that at 01}'mpus.* This 
is the more remarkable because the temple Olympus is sup- 
posed to be one of the earliest known to historic times. It 
shows, however, 'how difficult it is to trace the architecture of 
Greece back to its primordial forms, and how important the 
study of ancient American architecture becomes on this 

There are, however, even in this grand historic temple, some 
analogies to the primitive structures which are found on this 
continent, and some points which show what features were 
peculiar to the early stages of architecture. The ascent to 
the temple by the long flight of steps is not unlike that which 
is seen in the ancient temples of Mexico and Central America. 
The prominence of the building among other buildings also 
shows that sacred structures were, at a very early date, made 
the object of artistic adornment, and so a clue to the uses of 
some of the unknown structures of this continent can be 

The history of the column in Egyptian architecture proves 
the same thing. Here the column is placed on the inside 
instead of the outside, but the perfection of the Egyptian 
style is shown by the separation of the columns by the walls, 
and by the fact that they were made to support the roof. The 

♦For cut of the Temple of Olympua, see Aii. Antiquarian, Vol. m., No. 4. 


•k;?' ' 


















I lllili-' 

earliest appearance of the col- 
umn in Egypt was in the tomb 
of Beni- Hassan. The tomb- 
like character of the Egyptian 
temples is owing as much to 
the multiplication of the col- 
umns in the interior, as to the 
erection of the propylfe in 
front, or to the height of the 
wall surrounding it. 

Now, as to the development 
of these different features of 
architecture in America, we 
discover that while neither the 
principle of the arch, or the real 
use of the column was known, 
yet that there was much ad- 
vance towards the true concep- 
tion of them. There are forms 
of the arch where the overlap- 
ping stones are tilted and 
smaller stones are wedged in 
behind them, so that there is 
really a nearer approach to the 
voussoir shape than has been 
discovered anywhere else, ex- 
cept where the true arch has 
been employed. The arch was 
oftentimes substituted for the 
lintel, in ancient American 
buildings, and from this arose 
those peculiar shaped corridors 
which are found in the ruins of 

These arches were erected 
above square piers, and were 
used both for the support of the 
cornices and roofs of the cor- 
ridors, and as ceilings for the 
chambers within. Many of the 
terraced pyramids were built in 
this way, with vaulted cham- 
bers inside of them, the terraces 
being supported by the trian- 
gular arches, rather than being 
solid. There was a form of the 
arch in use in America which 
is quite peculiar. It is the tre- 


foil. This may be seen by examining the cuts of the ruins 
of Palenque." This trefoil form was very ornamental, but did 
not contain any more strength than the triangular arch, but it 
illustrates the tendency to adopt the vaulted order in America. 
There seems to have been a great mixture of architectural 
styles in America. Pyramidal temples are numerous, and 
associated with them, in the same locality, are buildings which 
embody the peculiarly square and flat style which is the result 
of the use of the pier and lintel, and, at the same time, other 
buildings, which present the lofty vaulted chambers and 
arched corridors, thus giving the three forms and three styles 
in close connection. We present a cut which illustrates this 
point to a certain extent, but for a further elucidation of the 
subject would refer to the cuts which may be found in H. H. 
Bancroft's work on the Native Races of the Pacific Coast, or 
to Baldwin's Ancient America. A form of the trefoil arch may 
be seen in Short's North Americans of Antiquity, as well as 
illustrations of the triangular arch, and of the banded column. t 
The Governor's House, at Uxmal, stands upon the upper 
of three platforms, of which the lowest is 575 ft. long, 15 ft. 
broad and 3 ft. high. The second is 545 ft. long, 250 ft. 
broad, and 20 ft. high. The third is 360 ft. long, 30 broad 
and 19 ft. high. The house itself is 322 ft. long, and 20 ft. 
high. It has eleven door-ways, and contains twenty-two apart- 
ments, two of which are 60 ft. long. This house maybe sup- 
posed to resemble the ancient Assyrian palaces, both in its 
style and in its situation. The examination of its style may 
give an idea of the shape which those ancient structures as- 
sumed. The triangular arches seen in the fa9ade, and the 
square door-ways will illustrate both of the principles to which 
we refer, and the varied styles and forms which prevailed 
here. When newly constructed, this structure, Mr. Morgan 
says, must have presented a striking appearance. It is doubt- 
ful whether any of the Aryan tribes, when in the middle status 
of barbarism, have produced houses superior to those in 

At times, also, the three styles will be embodied in one 
building; a pyramid, as may be seen at Palenque, being 
at the base a temple built with heavy, square piers and flat 
door- caps above it, and the arched or vaulted chamber 
found within. There are, also, other buildings, such as Casa 
de Monjas, at Uxmal, where the pyramid forms the foun- 
dation, a temple, ornamented with columns in its fa9ade, 

*See cut of Governor's House at Uxuial, on page 320, and of the Trocalli at Palenque, 
on page 322. 

tSee Native Races of the Pacific States, Vol. IV., pp. 214-217, also for arch, see pp. 
191-207, 208 ; Short's North Americana of Antiquity, pp. 346-350. 


and containing arched or vaulted chambers, is built above 
the terrace, and a terraced or pyramidal roof forms a super- 
structure. There are, also, buildings erected in conical form- 
others presenting a single chamber within a cubical built 

structure; and 
others still 
with square 
piers arising 
one above the 
other, making 
but connected 
by inwardly 
inclined walls, 
so as to make 
heavy, ter- 
raced pyra- 
mids; andoth- 
_ ers still pre- 

casa de Monjas. sentiug the in- 

wardly inclined wall, overtopped by the heavy concave 
cornice, resembling the Egyptian style. 

Thus we have, in America, all the forms and styles which 
are found in all the architectural orders, but always lacking 
the principle. It is strange that architecture should have 
advanced so far without embodying some one of the princi- 
ples, and so reaching to the point of established architectural 
order, but it did not. Perhaps there are resemblances between 
the American and all the known historical styles, for the 
vaulted and arched corridors approach toward the Gothic style, 
while the columnar ornamentation resembles the Greek, and 
the pyramidal resembles the Egyptian, yet they show the 
Gothic without the true arch, the Greek without the peripteral 
column, and the Egyptian without the perfect pyramid. 

We close this paper with a brief resume. The architectural 
orders, as such, are not found in America, but the fact that 
architecture begins at so early a stage makes this a favorable 
field for the study of their origin. There is no connection 
between the prehistoric works of America, and the historic 
structures of America and the historic structures of the East- 
ern Hemisphere, but the architectural forms here discovered 
show how the orders may have arisen in historic countries. 
The imperfect condition in which the architecture of America 
was arrested, illustrates how essential to the orders the me- 
chanical principles are, the discovery of which was not attained 
in America. 




Of all architectural works, the most interesting specimens, 
are those which may be classified under the general name of 
"Rock-cut Structures." These are not very numerous, nor are 
thcv very widely distributed, the large majority of them being 
situated in western and southern Asia, a few only being found 
in America. 

The peculiarities of these structures are easily recognized 
and are as follows: 

I. They are all cut out of the solid rock, and yet present, 
as a general thing, the same forms and arrangements, as those 
which are placed above the soil, and are constructed in the 
usual way. 2. Their forms, shapes, and arrangements vary 
according to circumstance, yet we may recognize in them, 
courts, and columns, altars, and stairways, sometimes arches 
and corridors, all of which bear the same shape as if they were 
erected above the earth. 3. On account of their being cut 
out of the rock, they are necessarily situated where the solid 
rock is. and are consec]uently found, for the most part, in places 
somewhat remote from the centers of population, and yet in 
localities where assemblies might be gathered. 4. As to 
their uses, they differed from one another, for some of them 
were evidently designed for the celebration of religious rites, 
others as the burial places of the noted dead, others as the 
abodes of religious recluses, and still others as the repository 
of sacred images, and the place where such images might be 
worshipped. 5. They differ in their date of construction, 
as some of them belong to the prehistoric age, others to a 
time preceding the Christian Era, while a third class must be 
ascribed toa period as late as the twelfth century, and a fourth 
to quite modern times. 6. The architectural features of these 
so-called Rock Structures, are very interesting, and the more 
so, because they show the progress which architecture has 
made during successive periods of time. We do not go to 
them in order to discover the origin of the arch, nor to trace 
the origin of the column, nor even to study the history of the 
different styles or orders, and yet all of these elements are 
contained in them, and many very interesting suggestions are 
received from the study of them. 7. Another noticeable feature 
about these structures is, that they furnish in themselves a test 
by which we may determine the age, and perhaps even the 
nationalities, to which they belong. This may indeed require 
considerable acquaintance with the architectural styles of dif- 
ferent periods, and nations, and yet to one who is acquainted 
with these it is easy to decide whether they were built by 


Arabs, Syrians, Greeks, Romans, Persians or Hindoos, and at 
the same time fix upon the period in which they were con- 
structed. 8. The most remarkai^le fact connected with these 
Rock-cut Structures is that they perpetuate the history of 
architecture in a most enduring form. Other structures may 
present that history with its details a little more complete, yet, 
if we would ascertain the earliest forms in which architecture 
appeared and would trace the different stages through which 
it passed, we will find no better source of information than 
these. It is indeed uncertain whether the Rock-cut preceded 
the rude stone monuments, and yet if we take such structures 
as the Sphynx in Egypt, and the statues in Phoenicia, and the 
rude pillars in Arabia, and the strange tombs in Malta, we 


shall find that we have reached the borders of the Prehistoric 
Age. We may place them along side of the Cyclopoean walls 
and the stone towers, which characterized the earliest period 
in history. And may consider them as the immediate suc- 
cessors of those various structures, which belong to the pre- 
historic times, such as the standing stones or menhirs, dol- 
mens, cromlechs, stone circles, cysts, and other structures of 
the kind. In fact thert^ is no more important class of archi- 
tectural works than these very Rock-cut structures anywhere. 
In treating of these various works we shall begin with the 
so-called High Place, which has been recently discovered, but 
shall afterwards speak of the Rock-cut tombs which have been 
found in Eg\pt, Persia and other countries. We shall then 
describe the Rock-cut Temples of India and compare them 
with the Rock-cut cities of Petra, and shall close with a brief 
reference to the Rock-cut images found in the two Americas. 


I. We shall bejrin with those peculiar structures which are 
found in connection with the " High Places," and shall repro- 
duce a description, which has been furnished us by Pro- 
fessor G. L. Robinson, of one which he himself discovered. 
He says: 

"The ancient Rock-city of Sela, or Peira, once the capi- 
tal of the Sons of Esau, and situated in the heart of Mt. Seir, 
is in itself beyond all question the most interesting place in the 
Holy Land. Few travellers have ever succeeded in getting there, 

^Hgg;, y^ 

«t ■<* 

'■^^^ ' '^^fe'-^ - 


and still fewer have been able to leave without being fleeced 
bv the Arabs of that vicinity. Burckhardt, Irby, and Man- 
gles, Laborde, Robinson, Palmer, and ¥.. L. Wilson are among 
those who have succeeded in seeing Petra and afterwards de- 
scribing it. 

The city is situated in a valley, called by the Arabs, liat/y 
Miisa, deep down among the mountains of Seir. 

The depression is about three-quarters of a mile long 
from north to south, by a quarter of a mile broad, and is 
bounded on every side by nearly perpendicular rocks of the 
most beautiful colors — red, pink, lavender, chocolate, and 
white— and towering frorn two to six hundred feet above th? 

1 m 

valley. At one time, <^feolo<^ically speakiiij^, the whole basin 
WHS probably a lake. A copious stream of clear, sweet 
water flows clown the Jlat/y from east to west, havin^- cut a 
mos' picturesque 5:jorge throuj^h the mountains, which now 
provides the only approach to the city. This gorge is called 
the Si/v, or S/iuk, and is the -most remarkable natural feature 
of the place. It is oxer a mile in length, and narrow, at cer 
tain points beinjr not more than twelve feet wide, and is 


bounded symmetrically on both sides by perpendicular, and 
occasionally oxerhanging, rocks of most exquisite coloring 
from two to four hundred feet in height. This ravine is one 
of the most romantic and enchanting places the writer ever 
visited. Twent)-two minutes according to the watch, were 
required by our animals to pass through it from one end to 
the other. 

On coming out into the opening of the city depression, 
the first object to greet the eye was the famous temple of the 
Muses, called d-KhuzncJi, which is cut out of the dark-rose 
and chocolate colored rocks and stands full seventy-five feet 


high from the base to the urn which adorns its apex. Pro- 
ceedinij further down the JfWj' a theatre, temples, and nu- 
merous tombs and rock dwellino-s arrest the traveller's at- 
tention, and rivet his gaze. A few ruins of ancient stone 
buildings lie upon the surface of the city's site in the centre 
of the depression. Northwest of these, some distance, situa- 
ted high up among the mountains that bound the city, we 
visited the Deir, or Monastery, another rock-hewn temple, 


and of about the same size and style of architecture as el- 
Khuzneh. From the lofty roof of this immense structure we 
obtained a most satisfactory view of Jebel Haroun, or Mt. 
Hor, upon which, according to Arab tradition, Aaron died 
and was buried. 

The entire city-site with its rocks and ravines, its temples 
and tombs, wa^ strangely weird, yet fascinating; tor here 
once lived the Troglodytes or cave-dwellers of Edom against 
whom the prophets so often directed their words of warning. 

It was Prof. Robinson's good fortune in May, 1900, accompan- 
ied by the Rev. Archibald Forder of Jerusalem, a missionary 
to the Bedouin Arabs, and escorted by two Ottoman soldiers 
obtained from the Governor of Kerak, Moab. to visit Petra 


and remain as long as he chose, without fear of being plun- 
dered by the rapacious Arabs of the vicinity. This was a 
rare opportunity and he eagerly improved it exploring the 
city and its vicinity. He says: 

" On May 3rd, we climbed to the summit of one of the high- 
est peaks which surround the Rock-city, and discovered, in- 
dependently of Mr. E. L. Wilson, who with his party visited 
the same height in 1882, what seems to have been the chief 


religious sanctuary of the ancient inhabitants of Edom, viz: 
their "High Place of worship." We took careful notes of the 
whole discovery, drew a sketch-plan on the spot, measured 
accurately the respecti\-e dimensions of the Court, the altars, 
the pool, etc., located their position by compass, and secured 
eleven photographs of the sanctuary, Mr. Forder assisting 
after his arrival.* 

•In reference to the High Places we would say that while very few have been found in 
Syiia and Arabia, yet in Petr« and in Phrygia, there are sanctuaries open to the sky with 
steps leading to them; also sacrificial altars, and a vaiiety of symbols; yet nowhere do we 
find such a rare combination of altars, lavers, courts, obelisks and, circles, cut out of the rock 
as is presented here. 

There were no images here, but as an open air sacrificial place it ranks with localities 
which were common in the days of Abraham, and the discovery by Professor Robinson is the 
more important on that account. The proximity of '.he High Place to the celebrated city of 


1. The Situation. The Hio^h Place is situated on one 
of the highest peaks in the ininiediate \icinity of the most 
populous part of the city, a little southwest of the Khuzneh 
and about the same distance southeast of the theatre. Its 
elevation above the bottom of W'ady Musa is about 600 feet 
and the view from it is most imposing. The peaks of Mt. 
Seir to the east and southeast are naturally considerably 
higher, as is also Jebel Haroun three miles to the southwest. 


2. The Two Pillars or Pyramidal Columns. The first 
objects of extraordinary interest that met our eye as we 
neared the summit of the mountain ridge were two mono- 
liths, or mazzcbalis, about 100 feet apart and 20 feet high re- 
spectively. They were rough hewn and undetached, being 
cut out of the solid rock, and without any trace of inscription. 
Round about, the mother-rock had apparently been cut down 
the full length of the pillars' height, leaxing a large platform 
bounded on the south by an escarpment about 20 feet high, 

Petra makes the discovery very important, for between the two, the whole history of architec- 
ture is contained; as the High Place represents the structures which abounded in earhest times, 
and the rock city represents the style which prevailed in the palmy days of Rome. The devel- 
opment of the column with its capital, the arch and all other architectural features 
occurred between the two. 


and on the north by a deep ravine. The two pillars are of 
unequal base measurements varyin.o- from 6 to 12 feet and 
taperinq- bluntly as may be seen from the photographs; the 
one on the east' having a smaller base and consequently ta- 
pering less than that on the west. A chasm separates the 
Pillars from the fortress and the High Place beyond, which 
are situated at least 75 feet higher up. 

3. The F"ortress. A castle covers the south brow otthe 


Rds, or mountain top proper. It is built oE hewn stones, is 
now in ruins, and is of comparatively little importance, being 
probably of Roman or Nabatha^an origin. Standing on the 
brink of a precipice it was easily fortified, and being more 
lofty than the surrounding mountain peaks, it probably served 
as a watch tower. It was this fortress that invited me to the 
actual summit. Mr. Forder tarried at the Pillars until I scaled 
the cliff and reported my discovery, whereupon he joined me 
and assisted in taking the measurements which follow. 

4. The Pool or Cistern. Thirty feet south of the Court 
is a /;/>/v/, or pool, 10 feet long from north to south, 7 feet 
8 inches broad from east to west, and about 3 feet deep. At 
the time of our visit (May 3,) there was still some water in 
it, but so far as we observed no signs of fish or life. Neither 


did we discover an)- traces of ancient cement, but being 
cut in the solid rock, this would hardly be required. The 
surface of the surrounding rock, shelves slightly toward the 
pool thus enabling it to fill in time of rain. 

5. The Court Cut in the Rock. On reaching the actual 
sumniit of the mountain. I was delighted to see before me. 
what 1 had searched for in vain through the peninsula of Sinai 
and Moab, viz; a High Place, tiere, most conspicuous of all 


the interesting objects about me, a? I walked forth upon the 
almost level surface of the summit, was a rock-hewn court 47 
feet long by 20 feet broad, lying as my compass indi rated, 
almost exactly north and south; cut down 18 inches deep on 
the east side near the south end, 16 inches at the northeast 
corner, 15 inches at the northwest, and 4 inches on the south 
half of the west side. The floor is quite smooth, dipping 
slightl)' towards the south, excepting that near the centre of 
it there is a raised platform 58 inches long from east to west 
and 31 inches broad from north to south — flat, and 4 inches 
higher than the surrounding surface of the Court. This raised 
platform, probably intended for priestly uses, as a table to 


eat from (cf. i Sam. 9:13) or as a pedestal for an idol, or as 
an altar upon which the victims were slain, which is more 
probable, is of undetached rock, and lies considerably nearer 
the west side than the east, and somewhat nearer the north 
end than the south (see plan). The mathematical exactness 
with which this immense sunken area was cut into the living 
rock and the obvious artificial levellings on the higher surfaces 
about indicate that it constituted an important portion of a 
religious sanctuary. 


6. The Shallow Cutting North OF THE Court. Not far 
to the north of the rock-cut Court, as indicated in the plan, 
there is another parallelogram showing distinctly on three of 
the four sides, the attempt to carve away the rough rock and 
make it level, perhaps as standing room for certain of the wor- 
shippers. Its bottom is about 18 inches higher than the level 
of the floor of the Court. The cuttings are shallow, not av- 
eraging over 4 inches. 

7. The Approach. The main approach is from the north- 
west. Here, as indicated in the accompanying plan, art; 
eight regularly cut steps in the rock leading down from the 
northwest corner of the Court. Traces of other stairs also 


are to be seen at dffcrent points on the south and west faces 
of the mountain, some of which I photographed, but the rock 
of Petra being soft, they are worn away in many cases, per- 
haps bv atmospheric agencies, more probably by the feet of 
the worshippers. We approached from thesoutheast. Climb- 
ing up a certain ravine just south of the sacred mountain, we 
ascended, as my notes remind me, at first due east and later 
north, passing by numerous temples and tombs, here and 


there a Nabatha^an inscription (of such our guide assured us 
squeezes had been taken by Prof. Briinnow), several terraces 
carpeted with grass, and about half way up an aqueduct 
leading down to a cistern. At different points the ascent was 
arduous. We descended by quite a different ravine, on the 
north side, leading directly doyvn from the "Pillars" to a point 
not far east of the theatre. 

8. The Squark Ai.tak. Most remarkabU- of all the diff- 
erent portions of this sanctuary, is a rectangular altar, situa- 
ted on the west side of the Court, facing the east with a 
passageway 3 feet deep and averaging 32 inches in width 
running round > on the north, west, and south sides. It is 
about 15 feet disiant from the Court, the space. being levell- 


ed to the bottom of the altar and accommodated to the con- 
veniences of the [)riests. The exact measurements of the 
altar are 9 feet h)n<r from north to south, 6 feet broad from 
east to west, and 3 feet hij^h from the bottom of the passage 
to the top, proper, of the altar. Four steps of varying heights 
lead up to it from the Court on the east, of which the up- 
permost is about 18 inches lower than the top of the altar, 
and approximately 3 feet long by 2 feet broad, thus furnish- 
ing a convenient standing place for the minister of the altar. 
The steps and altar entire are undetached, having been cut 
out of the mother-rock. The most interesting features of 
the Altar, however, are those upon its surface. As shown in 
the accompanying photograph, three of the four corners of 
the altar are cut down, ^vith almost mathematical precision 
about 3 inches deep, forming angular depressions. There is 
none, however, on the southwest corner, which corner accord- 
ingly is the highest of the four. As a compensation the west 
arm of the depression on the northwest corner is consider- 
ably longer than any of the others. What these were intend- 
ed for is dif^cult to say. Here the priests may have set 
their vessels or perhaps artificial contrivances, possibly of 
metal, like horns, which may have once ornamented the altar, 
and been lost (cf. Amos 3:14). 

The most important depression of the upper surface is a 
rectangular cavity 43 inches long from north to south, 14 
inches wide from east to west, and 4 inches deep. It lies, 
for all practical purposes, in the center of the altar's super- 
ficial area, being only a trifle nearer the west side than the 
east, and was probably intended as a hollow for the fire of the 
burnt sa crifices that were here offered; hence probably this 
was the altar of burnt-offering. The altar is without orna- 
mentation and inscription. 

g. The Round Altar. Immediately south of the altar 
just described and separated from it only by a narrow pass- 
age 32 inches wide already refered to, is a large platform of 
natural rock upon which the blood of the sacrifices was prob- 
ably poured out, and which we are inclined to name the 
"Round Altar" or "Altar of Oblation." It, too, has 4 steps 
leading up to it from the Court; with these two differences, 
however, that the stairway is on its northeast side instead of 
the north, and that the long broad step is the first from the 
bottom, not the last toivanis the top as in the case of those be- 
longing to the "Square Altar" (see photograph). The heigiit 
of this altar varies also, but at the northwest corner it meas- 
ures 34 inches from the bottom of the passage. Its length and 
breadth are difficult to define as the altar proper gradually 
shades into the natural rock about, but altogether in super- 
ficial area it is considerably larger than the square altar. 

Two very remarkable features characterize this portion of 
the "High Place," making it a sanctuary of exceptional in- 


terest to the antiquarian, viz; On the top of the platform there 
are two concentric depressions, or Sun disks, one within the 
other, the smaller being the deeper of the two, while from the 
inmost center of the inner one there is a conduit, or drain, cut 
through the rock and evidentl)' intended to carr\' away the 
blood. This conduit leads in a northeasterly direction to the 
edge of a semi-arched recess, or cavity, situated close by the 
steps on the northeast side of the Altar. The concentric 
rings on the surface of the Altar, though not perfectly circu- 
lar, are cut with comparative precision, the outer one 46 inches 
in diameter and the inner one 17 inches, and being 3 and 6 
inches, re-ipectively, deeper than the surface of the Altar. 
These rings suggest that the sun was probably worshipped 
here, as was common elsewhere among Semitic peoples. 

The second noteworthy feature of the altar is the tomb-like 
cavity in the east face which slopes toward the court. The 
cavit) i-1 oblong and of irregular dimensions, being 5 feet 2 
inv,hes long, i foot 6 inches wide, and i foot 4 inches deep 
on its east side. A narrow shelf runs along the west wall as 
though intended to support a cover ( see photograph). The 
m\ stery of this cavity may possibly be explained in connec- 
tion with the circular hole near by, which may have been used 
for erecting an ashcrnli, or sacred pole, there being little 
probabilit\- that trees ever grew on the top of the mountain 
peak. The whole altar was evidently intended for bloods- 
sacrifices, or more strictly, was the altar of oblation. Behind 
both altars a narrow ridge of low, rough rock obviated all 
possibility of the worshippers falling over the precipice into 
the chasm below, The area of the entire summit is about 300 
feet from north to south and lOO feet from ea^t to west. 

From this description, it is clear, that in this newly dis- 
covered High Place at Petra we have a valuable monument 
to the religious worship of the ancient inhabitants of Edom. 
As no "High Place" has ever yet been discovered which can 
compare with it in size, completeness, or situation, this one 
accordingly stands unique. Certain altars have been found by 
Conder and others which are of invaluable interest to the 
Archt-eologist, but they are crude and simple compared with 
these on the peak above the theatre at Petra. 

The date of this wonderful "High Place" is difficult to de- 
termine, but probably it came into being not later than 300 
B. C, possibly earHer. In any case, it was the outward ex- 
pression of a religion which had long existed there, and 
which had doubtless been practiced by the t^domites for cen- 
turies previous; just as the temple of Solomon was the ex- 
ternal expression of a religion that had been believed and 
practiced with a greater or lesser fidelity for generations 
before its construction." 


In reference to the High Place so well described by Pro- 
fessor Robinson, it should be said that the discovery is very 
important for the light which it throws upon the history of 
architecture in the Ivast. The date of its construction has not 
been ascertained, yet if we compare it with other Rock-cut 
structures in the region and especially with those discovered 
in Phrygia and Asia Minor, we shall be led to the conclusion, 
that it is verv ancient. In fact it stands between the prehis- 
toric structures and the earliest historic, and may be regarded as 
one of a series which shows the progress of architecture, if it 
may be so called, through its various stages. It does not be- 
long to the " rude stone monuments," for it shows the use of iron 
tools, and contains stone objects which have been trimmed or 
hewn, whereas the most of these monuments are of unhewn 
stone. There are, however, features, which would ally the 
structures with those which are peculiar to the early historic 
period, even with that period which was characterized by the 
building of the pyramids. The following are the features 
which should be studied in order to identify its position among 
the other monuments: 

I, The Pillars or Obelisks. These were hewn out of the 
solid rock, and the rock removed from around them; but the 
shape in which they were left shows, that the builders were 
somewhat familiar with obelisks. They had certainly passed 
out of that stage, in which the rude, unhewn "menhirs or 
standing stones" were common and yet had not quite reached 
that stage, which was represented by the columns found in the 
rock-cut tombs of Beni Hassan, or that stage which represented 
the obelisks, whether of Egypt or Babylonia or Assyria. 

2 The court, which was hewn out of the solid rock, shows 
that the custom of placing a square court near the temple and 
of orientating it, had already been adopted. Still the fact that 
there was a circular enclosure sunken in the rock shows, that 
the custom, of making circles serve the purpose of religion, 
had not altogether passed away. The circle was a sure sign of 
sun-worship, and was used as a symbol of that cult throughout 
the globe. It appeared in Great Britain and in South America, 
and was commonly used as an open air temple. Sun-worship 
was common among all the pagan nations of the East, especially 
so among the Phcetiicians. It prevailed among the Moabites 
and Edomites and many other Semitic tribes. 

3. The Laver is an important feature. Cleanliness was re- 
quircvl by most of the Semitic tribes. Provision for it was 
made in the Levitical law. The laver of brass before the taber- 
nacle shows this, just as the images of oxen show the custom 
of animal sacrifice. Still there were four elements which 
figured in the symbolism of all primitive tribes. They were: 
Water, Air, Earth and Fire. We find each one of these ele- 
ments symbolized in the High Place. The water by the layer, 


the fire by the altar, the air or sun by the obelisk and the 
earth by the rock itself. 

4. The altar is an important feature. The Scripture says: 
" Thou shalt not lift a tool upon the altar; thou shalt not lift 
any iron tool on them." This altar must have been hewn out 
by iron-tools. Sacrifices were evidently offered upon it, but it 
is unknown whether they were human sacrifices or not. The 




fact that there were channels for blood cut in the rock is 
however significant. 

The fact that the altar was erected upon a high place, 
\\h;re it could be seen by the multitude would indicate that it 
was an unusual sacrifice, and may have been really a sacrifice 
of a human victim, similar to that practiced by the king of 
Moab. Levitical law forbade human sacrifice, but it was a 
common practice among all pagan tribes. Even Abraham was 


tested, and bore the test as couraoeously as a pagan would. 
One can realize how the column of black smoke, arising from 
above the mountain would impress the people, but the knowl- 
edge that upon the altar a human sacrifice was being offered, 
^I" ui ^^^^ ^^^ smoke and the fire which gleamed out beneath 
the black clouds, doubly impressi\e. 

5- The fact that it was upon a mountain surrounded by 
others, which were noted for certain historic events, and 


had been made sacred by the memory of notabilities, who 
had died and had been buried upon their summits, must 
have made the scene all the more imposing. We know of 
no locality, which was more celebrated in antiquity than 
this, for here Aaron, the High Priest of the Jews, was 
buried, and here also other events had occurred. 

6. The scene and the structures all remind us of prac- 
tices (vhich were common in prehistoric times. There is 
no doubt that human sacritices were offered to the sun in 
many localities, and the open air temples were designed 
for this purpose. It certainly does not seem reasonable 
that such structures as Stone-henge and Avebury were, that 
they were erected merel}?^ for the burial of those slain in 
battle. But on the contrar}' sacritices to the sun, at stated 

Ex. 20:25- Deut. 27:5; 1st K. 6:7. 

?d Kings, 3:27; 2ci Kings, 16:3; 2d K. ?i:6. 


intervals, would require just such elements as were embodied 
in them. In this High Place we have the obelisk, the circle, 
and the altar, but in addition the square court, the stairway, 
the laver, and the channel for blood. These were all devoted 
to the sacrifices which took place on this High Place, but they 
also exhibit the beginnings of temple architecture. 

We have in a previous article described the rock-cut 
structures which are found in the wilderness of Sinai, in the 
region of Mt' Hor and in close proximity to the ancient city 
of Petra, a city which shows that the highest style of Roman 
architecture had been introduced into the midst of the desert 
and had covered the barren rock with the adornments of art. 
We now continue the subject, with a view of showing the age 
and period to which these rock-cut structures belong. 

The point which we make, is that stone monuments and 
megalithic structures belong to the prehistoric period and 
constitute the beginnings of that period, but there were other 
structures which belong to the proto-historic period, and 
still others to the historic period. It may be said that 
the archaeologists have all of them argued for the exist- 
ence of a prehistoric age, and have recognized the difference 
between the epochs or divisions of the age, these epochs 
being founded upon the study of the rude stone monuments, 
when classified according to their characteristics and their 
dates The order adopted is as follows : First, caves; second, 
kitchen-middens; third, mounds, tumuli and barrows; fourth, 
lake-dwelling, cromlechs, alignments, stone circles and cran- 
nogs, and fifth, towers. These followed one another in quick 
succession, and marked the stages through which society 
passed in prehistoric times. They, however, give very few 
hints as to the beginnings of historic times and furnish no evi- 
dence as to the dates in which hi-tory began. 

In reference to the proto-historic period very little effort 
has been heretofore made to identify any class of monuments 
as peculiar to it, and in fact there has been a hesitation on the 
part of archaeologists to recognize it as n distinct period. It 
is, however, worthy of notice that many ancient structures have 
been disclosed at Cyprus and Crete, and many other localities 
on either side of the Mediterranean Sea, which are distinct 
from both prehistoric and historic structures, and constitute in 
themsehes a separate horizon, which perhaps might be ascribed 
to the Bronze Age. 

As to the date at which the historic period began, there is 
much uncertainty, but the probability is that there were differ- 
ent dates; for recent discoveries are proving that history in 
Egypt and Babylonia goes many hundreds, and even thousands, 
of years back of the date in which the record began, either in 
Greece or Syria or Asia Minor, or even Crete; though in these 
latter regions the proto-historic period began at an early date, 
and tarried for many centuries. 


As to the monuments and tokens which characterized this 
proto-historic period, there is a difference of opinion, but 
archaeologists generally are agreed that the appearance of the 
column and the beginning of writing constitute the line where 
the historic period began and the proto-historic ended. There 
were, however, many rude structures which preceded the ap' 
pearance of the column, and yet do not belong to the pre- 
historic age. Among these we may mention the various altars,, 
tombs, some of the obelisks, gateways, triangular arches, and 
the caves which contain the tombs, and some of the mastabas 
and the labyrinths. These are widely distributed, but where- 
ever thej' appear they constitute the border line between the 
prehistoric and historic period. 

Bronze also serves to m^irk the border line between the 
prehistoric and proto historic period on the one side, and the- 


proto-historic and the historic on the other, for it was the ap- 
pearance of bronze which introduced the proto-historic period, 
and it was with the use of iron that the historic period began. 
Thii is an important point, for the outlines of the double- 
bladed ax have been found on the structures which have 
recently been exhumed by Arthur Evans in the island of Crete» 
showing that the various altars and temples, palaces and halls, 
found there beneath the soil belonged to the Bronze Age. 
The same point is impressed upon us by the discoveries of 
*Nchliemann in Troy and Mycenae. Gold was more conspicu- 
ous than bronze in his discoveries, but there are many evi- 
dences, beside the testimony of Homer, to show that it was 
during the Bronze Age that the proud cities began to arise. To 
this age we may ascribe the remarkable gateway at Mycenae, 
and other structures, many of which are situated in Greece and 















Epirus; but there are others in Asia Minor, in Phrygia, and as 
far east as Persia. 

It may be said that the earliest stages of architecture are 
found in these rude structures, and by this means we are able 
to distinguish them from the rude stone monuments which are 
situated in the same region, but seem to have belonged to a 
different people and a different age. 

Now, it will be profitable to take up these structures which 
are scattered throughout the length and breadth of this belt of 
latitude, and study their characteristics and see whether they 
do not constitute a period, as well as a stage of advancement^ 
which can be distinguished from those which followed afterward. 

I. We begin with the land of Egypt. Here the rock-cut 
structures are quite numerous and are somewhat familiar, be- 
cause included in them, are many objects concerning which 
much has been written. Everyone knows about the sphinx^ 
but this belongs to a class of rock-cut structures which have a 
great variety of forms, and which seemed to belong to the 
historic age, but after all they date their beginnings back to the 
proto-historic period and on this account are very interesting 
objects of study. 

There was a great variety to the structures which were 
erected during this period. Some of them were merely cut 
out of the rock, and had no semblance to the architectural 
structures which appeared afterwards; others are in the shape 
of altars, obelisks, pillars, gateways and tombs. A very in- 
teresting class of structures, which appeared in this period, 
were animal and human images, all of which were cut out of 
the rock, the best specimen of which may be found in the 
Sphinx. The Sphinx is supposed to represent the king who 
built the second pyramid. It was carved out of a rock which 
broke the view of the pyramids, and is near the platform on 
which they stand, with its head toward the Nile. It is elevated 
twelve feet above the present soil. Only the head and should- 
ers are now visible. Some years ago, the sand was cleared 
away and it was found that a sloping descent, cut in the rock 
for 135 feet, ended in a flight of 313 steps and a level platform 
from which another flight of thirty steps descended to the 
space between the Sphinx's fore paws. The height from the 
platform between the protruded paws and the top of the head 
is 62 feet; the paws extend 50 feet, and the body is 143 feet 
long; being sculptured from the rock, excepting a portion of 
the back and the fore paws, which have been cased with hewn 
stone. The countenance is now so much mutilated that the 
outline of the features can with difficulty be traced. The head 
has been covered with a cap, the lower part of which remains, 
and it had originally a beard, the fragments of which were 
found below. The space between the protruded paws appears 
to have served as a temple, in which, at least in later times, 
sacrifices were performed to the deity. Immediately under tUc 


breast stood a granite tablet, and another of limestone on 
either side, resting against the paws. The first contains a 
representation of Thothmes IV. offering incense and making 
libation to the Sphinx, with a long inscription in hieroglyphics, 
reciting the titles of the king. On the paws are many inscrip- 
tions of the Roman times, expressive of acts ot adoration to 
the Sphinx or Egpytian deities. No opening has been found 
anywhere in the figure, which is probably solid rock. Though 
its proportions are colossal, its outline is pure and graceful; 
the expression mild, gracious, and tranquil; the character is 
African, but the mouth, the lips of which are thick, has a soft- 
ness and delicacy of execution truly admirable. That it is an 
Egyptian head is plainly evident, notwithstanding its mutila- 

t i o n. The 
type, however, 
is rather fuller 
and broader 
than is usual 
in Egyptian 

The statues 
of M em no n 
furnish two 
other speci- 
mens of rock- 
cut structures. 
These two 
colossal sit- 
ting figures, 
cut out of the 
solid rock, 

command the approach to a temple, now in ruins, in a quarter 
of western Thebes. The height of each of these statues is 
forty-seven feet, and they rest upon pedestals about twelve 
feet high. One of these has excited much wonder, because 
of its vocal powers, for it is said to have emitted its voice at 
the rising sun, but Sir Gardner Wilkinson found in the lap of 
the statue a stone, which on being struck emitted a metallic 
sound, though Mr. Lane maintains that he repeatedly heard a 
sound, like that of a harp string, from the stone above him, 
which was produced from the influence of the ^un's rays. 

There arc also rock-cut tombs and statues in Eg) pt. The 
'most famous of these is the rock-hewn tenip'e at AbouSimbel; 
this temple belongs to history. On its facade are four colossal 
figures of Rameses II., represented as seated, sculptured out 
of solid rock, two on each side of the doorway. These are 
said to be the largest statues in Egypt. They measure from 
the sole of the feet to the top of the head, sixty-five feet. 
Over the entrcnce to the temple is carved in relief, the figure 
of the god Ra. The principal hall in the great temple is lined 



with statues of the gods, also carved out of the rock. These 
"Statues belong to a comparatively late period, but are the sur- 
vivals of such statues as were common in a very early period. 
Taken along with the Sphinx and the statues of Memnon, they 
■show the progress of sculpture and of statuary, the seated 
figure being specially significant. 

The best illustration of the proto-historic structure is found 
in the tomb of Beni Hassan. This presents the earliest and 
most primitive form of the column, and taken in connection 
with the other temples of Egypt may be said to mark the very 
beginnings of architecture. VVe see in the tomb, the earliest 
form of the Doric column, for it has no pediment and no capi- 
tal, a mere square block takes the place of the capital. The 
column is a plain shaft. It has no taper, but is the same size 
from the bottom to the top. (See the plate ) 

The obelisks of Egypt are, perhaps, more strictly proto- 
historic structures, than are those which have been mentioned. 
Many of these belong to the historic period, yet they began to 
be built in the proto-historic period, and had many stages of 
■development before the historic period began. The obelisks 
were evidently at the first sun-dials, or at least symbols of sun 

The resemblance between these obelisks of Egypt and those 
found at Petra, is especially worthy of notice. The obelisks 
of Egypt are covered with inscriptions, which magnify the 
names of the various Egyptian kings; while those which stand 
on the rocks above the temple at Petra are plain shafts, and 
have no inscriptions upon them. 

2. We turn from Egypt to Crete and Paphos and the 
islands in the Mediterranean Sea. These localities have 
recently excited much attention, owing to the discoveries 
which have been made in them. The most remarkable of these 
discoveries were made by Mr. Arthur Evans in the Island of 
Crete, the description of which is as follows: 

Mr. Arthur Evans discovered in Knossos a series of levels 
containing votive and sacrifical deposits connected with the 
cultus of the Cretan Zeus, whose special symbol was the double 
ax. In the central area of the palace of Knossos, he brought 
to light the foundations of two altars, which showed a special 
relation to the god of the ax. 

He says: " The cult objects of Mycenaean times con„, -<-pd 
of sacred stone pillars and trees; but certain symbolic objcc.b, 
like the double ax, stood as the impersonation of the divinity.'* 
Mr. Evans also thinks that the heraldically opposed animals on 
either side of a central post, such as are found in Mycenae, over 
the gate, may have come either from Eg\pt or Babylonia, but 
they are evidently survivals from the proto-historic period. 
The idea of the dolmen as a " Pillar of the House" was very 
prominent in this early religion. The Phrygian- image of the 
column found cut upon the tombs, belongs to a later date, but 


represents the pillar cult. He holds that the primitive pillar^ 
with a cap stone at the top, tapered toward the bottom, and 
refers to a specimen of it found in a dolmen, the outside of 
which was made up of megaliths, which formed the roof and 
the sides, but were covered all over with cups or rounded 
cavities, the entire dolmen forming a shrine devoted to the 
pillar cult. Such pillars are also seen in the side cells of the 
megalithic buildings of the Island of Malta, an island which 
seems to have been filled with the traces of the two periods — 
the prehistoric and the proto-historic. 

These prehistoric works of Malta have been ascribed to the 
Phoenicians, but they are the outgrowth of a cult which was wide 
spread and had its chief development in megalithic structures. 
They show that there was a gradual transition from rude stone 
monuments to architectural structures during the proto-historic 
period. The dolmen-like character of many of the Mycenaean 
shrines, especially those seen in the rings, some of which 
present the primitive forms of the trilith taken along with the 
gateway and its pillar, make this place an excellent locality to 
study the transitiun from the megalithic monuments to such 
architectural structures as the column and the arch. There 
were, however, places on the Island of Crete and at Knossos, 
which were older than these. The discovery of the shrine, the 
double ax, and identification of the building with the tradi- 
tional labyrinth, connected with the discovery of chambers 
and magazines below the level of the buildings show that the 
earliest palace had existed in the middle of the third milleumn 
B. C; while in the second millenum plaster houses, with win- 
dows of four and six panes, and a street existed at Knossos. 
The windows were filled with oiled parchment, and not glass. 

The Mycenaean culture goes back to the earlier period, for 
though the remains of a neolithic settlement has been found 
in the vicinity, buildings constructed of enormous limestone 
blocks in the megalithic style were characteristic of the 
Mycenaean homesteads. This kind of a house anticipated the 
Greek house of classical times. In all, thirty towns were 
excavated. In twenty-two of them there were megalithic 
walls. The houses were one -tory. Huts were in the mega- 
lithic style, and yet there were stairways and streets.* 

Mr. J. M. M)er.> holds that in pre-Mycenaean times the ideal 
Hellenic house consisted mainly of two single rooms — one in 
the rear of the other. On the other hand, Ernest Gardner 
holds that the primitive Greek house was something like the 
Greek house with the court on the inside. 

3. On either side of the Mediterranean Sea in Epirus 
and in the region where Iliuni or Troy once stood, we find the 
remains of structures which evidently belonged to the proto- 
historic age. Schliemann has explored the region and has 

•See "Journal of Hellenic Studies," Vol. XXII., 190a, page 505 


brought to light specimens of proto-historic art which lay- 
hidden beneath the soil. Among these were copper nails, 
bronze battle axes, lances, gimlets, knives, and brooches, along 
with silver ear-rings and gold ornaments. The art itself shows 
an early stage of development, but the architecture is more 
snggestive even than the art. The excavations have revealed 
the architecture of different ages and nations, for no le<5S than 
twelve cities were built up on the same site. The fifth layer 
was supposed to be on the site of Troy, and the se\enth on 
the site of Greek and Roman Ilium, 

We need not dwell upon these points, for they have been 
discussed over and over again, but if we compare the walls and 
gateways, the stairways, and the various structures which aie 
found in ruins, we shall conclude that hero the proto-historic 
age was represented as well as the historic — the lower city be- 
ing prehistoric — and that a complete record is contained in the 
ruins. But it may be said of the Beehive tombs and chamber 
tombs and treasure houses of Mycenae, that they properly re- 


present the proto-historic period. The very walls, arches and 
gateways present a style of masonry which is peculiar to that 
period. The Lion Gateway has been often referred to as belong- 
ing to the earliest period of history. This gateway is nearly 
quadrangular, with a height of lO feet 4 inches, and a width of 
9 feet 10 inches. The gate posts, the threshold, and the lintel 
are great blocks of breccia, showing clearly the marks of the 
saw by which they were cut out of the quarry. In the sockets 
we see the pivots by which the double gates turned. Above 
the gate, the wall is not built up solid, but the successive 
courses on either side overlap, until they meet in a sort of 
pointed arch, and thus leave a great triangular opening. This 
was the kind of arch which prevailed during the proto-historic 
period. There are many localities where it can be seen — at 
'Samos, at Phigelia, at Delos, Mycenae, at Tiiyns, and at 
Ephesus. The main difference between the gate at Mycenae 
and those mentioned, is, that inside this triangular arch is the 



■/heavy pier and linteil, with statues of the lions standing upon 

the lintel and a pillar with a rude capital between them. This 

is supposed to be one of the earliest columns in existence, and 

the whole structure represents an early period in architecture. 

The recent discoveries in Knossos and in Crete show that there 

was a pre-Mycenaean art and architecture in the islands, but 

ithey do not refute the position which we take, but confirm it. 

It is evident that in Greece the arch had its origin, for here 

>we find gateways which show the different stages of progress 

which were made before the secret 
of the arch was learned. In one 
of these gateways, we see the 
stones near the top projecting be- 
yond the line of the abutment, but 
held to their place by the weight of 
the stones above. In another, we 
find the edges of the stones beveled 
but coming to a point at the top, 
giving to the structure the appear- 
ance of an arch. There is, how- 
ever, no true arch to be found in 
any of these gateways, nor do we 
find the column with the capital 
anywhere in Greece at this time. 
The architecture of the time was exactly in the same condition 
as the architecture of Peru and Central America at the time of 
the Discovery by Columbus. 

4. There is another widespread district on the east coast 
■of the Mediterranean, which contains a large number of proto- 
historic structures; some of them in Palestine; others in Syria 
-and Phoenicia, and others in Asia Minor. The most interest- 
ing of them are east of the Jordan. Here we find rude stone 
monuments, so mingled with proto-historic structures that it is 
•difficult to distinguish between them. A specimen of these 
fhas been recently exhumed from the ancient city of Gezer. 

It may be said, that at this place, a succession of structures 
^have been found, which shows that there was a gradual transi- 
Ttion from the building of rude stone monuments to the erecting 
•of various architectural works, though progress may have been 
owing to a change of the population, rather than the progress 
of the same people. This is made plausible from the fact, that 
on the east of the Jordan, and to the north of Palestine, there 
are many rude stone monuments which seem to have belonged 
to a different race, and possibly were erected by the old 
Hittites. though others have ascribed them to the Indo- 
European race. 

Prof. Samuel Ives Curtis has explored the monuments of 
Syria and Palestine, Mr. Stewart MacAlister has explored the 
ruins of Gezer. He says, " Beginning at the bottom, or two 
lowest strata, it was fqunci that the site was occupied by an 


-aboriginal, non-Semitic race, of slight build and small stature. 
They lived in caves and rude huts. The cave-dwellers were 
succeeded by a Semitic people, who lived in houses of mud and 
«tone, surrounded with walls. In the fourth stratum, we find a 
•High place,' also megalithic structures, which consist of a 
group of monoliths, from 5 feet 5 inches to 10 feet high; a line 
and circular structure 13 feet 18 inches in diameter, consisting 
of a rude wall, now about 16 feet high, with no opening. The 
fifth and sixth strata are the most interesting, for they repre- 
sent the occupation of Gezer by the Israelites. Bronze is a 
common metal, though flint is still in use and remains of iron 
are found. The sixth strata is assigned to the period of the 
Jewish Monarchy, and the seventh to the SyroEgyptian period 
in the times of Alexander."* 

5. East of the Jordan were many rock-cutstructures which 
■evidently belonged to the proto historic period. These have 
been described by Dr. Merrill, formerly consul at Jerusalem. 
He quotes the language of Dr. J. G. Wctzstein: " Here is an 
underground city, a subterranean labyrinth. We found our- 
selves in a broad street, which had dwellings on both sides of 
it. Farther along, there were sevtral cross streets. Soon after 
we came to a market-place, where for a long distance on both 
sides there were numerous shops in the walls. After awhile 
we turned into a side street, whose roof supported by four pil- 
lars, attracted attention. The roof, or ceiling, was formed of 
a single slab of jasper. The rooms, for the most part, had no 
supports, the doors were often made of a single square stone. 
Here, I also noticed fallen columns. The present city, which, 
judging from its walls, must have been one of great extent, 
lies for the most part over the old subterranean city." 

In the same region, Dr. Merrill found some of the finest 
works of architecture, among which may be mentioned the 
Mashita Palace, built about A. D. 614; also a Roman road or 
pavement which shows the power and extent .of the Roman 
Empire. These comparatively modern structures were placed 
amid ruins of Gadara and the tombs which belonged to a pre- 
ceding age. These are dug in the limestone rock. All of them 
have doors of basalt On the doors are carved panels and 
Iknockers., and bands and bolt head-, showing they belonged to 
ithe historic period. Five great fortresses were in sight. 

In fact we may say thit this land, east of the Jordan, has a 
complete series of structures, which begin with the rude stone 
imonuments and end with the great palaces and temples which 
'were built during the palmy days of the Roman Empire, the 
theatres and palaces and temples here present columns which 
have capitals of the Corinthian order. In the same region 
was situated the palace of Zenobia, the Queen, and the ruins of 
Tadmor in the wilderness, showing that the same fate had 

•See " Biblical World," Feb. 1904, page 146; Article by Irwin M. Pric«. 


fallen upon them, that had fallen upon the people who erected 

Rev. J. L. Porter mentions a huge tower, rising high above 
the battlements and overlooking the plain of Hashan or Bozrah. 
He says: " From it 1 saw that Bozrah was in ancient times con- 
nected by a series 
of great high- 
ways with lead- 
ing citie>. These 
roads are worthy 
of notice, tor the 
Roman roads 
s h o wed much' 
more advance- 
ment in the art 
of road making 
than did the old 
Greek roads, 
which in fact re- 
sembled the old 
Cyclopean archi- 
tecture, and have been called the cyclopean roads, specimens 
of which have been described by Tsountas in his volume on the 
Mycenaean Age."* 

. The rock cut structures in the city of Bashan are in great 
contrast to the palaces and temples whicli are standing in 'ruins,, 
but which were built 


during the palmy 
days of the Rom^n 
Empire, for these 
palaces and temples 
present columns 
which have capitals 
of the Corinthian 
order and arches, 
showing that archi- 
tecture had reached 
its highest stage of ] 
development. The 
ruins of Tadmor in 
the wilderness, in 
which are found the 
palace of Zenobia, 
show that a worse 
fate had fallen upon 
them than had fallen upon the giant cities of Bashan, for these 
cities have been preserved exactly as they were when they were 
occupied. The very fact that thej' were cut out of the rock, have 
secu'cd their preservation; while the cities which were built 

•See "Mycenaean Age," page 56 fig. 8. 












up by the art of man, above the surface, and contain arches 
and columns and various ornaments, are in. complete ruin. The 
theatres are the best preserved, for the seats were cut out of 
the rock and insured their security. 

6. We turn from this region to the region, farther north in 
Kadesh and Hamath, Carchemi^h and the we'stern bend of the 
Euphrates. Here was the origmal seat and capital of the 
Hittites, a people who belonged to the proto-historic period. 
The old sou hern Hittite capital was at Kadesh, though scores 
of Hittite remains have been found in the neighborhood of 
Aintab and Marash. Here, large numbers of Hittite monu- 
ments, bas reliefs and inscriptions have been found, the remains 
of prehistoric walls, with them some remarkable Assyrian in- 

r^^o^^^^^^^i >ti 







scriptions. These show the Hittite styleand form of struc- 
tures, ornamentation and bas reliefs, as well as the pavements 
and stone slabs. The Hittites were of Mongolian stock. They 
are a mysterious people. They first appeared about i6oo B.C., 
having invaded Syria and Palestine trom the far north. Their 
home was on the Orontcs River. The Assyrian art gives us 
many representations of sieges and battles with the Hittites. 
The Hittite chariots have been depicted upon the monuments, 
and their faces shown. 

7. It is in Phrygia and Lydia that we find the most important 
evidence of this little known period. Much information can 
be gained from the study of the rock-cut structures in refer- 
ence to the period in which the people lived in tents, as well 
as the period which followed it, in which framed houses were 


Here the rock-cut totfibs are imitative of the house, and all 
the features of early ancient house architecture have been pre- 
served in this way, the rock being cut so as to imitate the 
beams, rafters, and doorways, with their jambs and panels. In 
other places, even pieces of furniture are imitated, and within 
the tombs are coucnes for the bodies, cut in solid rock. Even 
the roundels bring to mind the door knobs. The most interest- 
ing of these is the Oi.e at Midas. This has been described by 
Perrot and Chipiez. The peculiar pattern, seen upon its face, 
is said by them t ) have been an imitation of the drapery and 
the tent cloth which was made by the needle, and other por- 
tions represent the wooden framework. 

The tomb of Midas is, however, no more interesting than 
many others found in Phrygia, Lydia, and the regions adjoin- 
ing. Here there are tombs cut out of the rock, in front of 
which are columns built after a pattern with fine gable-ends, 
arches over the doorways built with sloping jambs, and a sun- 
symbol over the doorway, as at Ayazeen. Other tombs exhibit 
columns with capital, resembling the Corinthian, others with a 
porch in front of the chamber, and heavy Doric columns in 
front of the porch. The doors of the tomb are back of the 
porch. Most interesting are those hewn out of the solid rock, 
in front of which is a peculiar sculptured ornament which re- 
presents the tree or the column with a lion on either side, 
resembling the gate at Mycenae. The thought has been 
advanced that the lions which in Babylonia guarded the portals 
of the palace, and were a support to the throne, are here watch- 
ing over the last abode of the prince or grandee, exactly as 
they do over the tomb or treasure-house at Mycenae. 
n There were in India many rock-cut structures, some of 
them of magnificent proportions; a few columns on which were 
carved many ornaments, but with a heavy capital on the col- 
umn. A specimen of the rock-cut temples of India may be 
seen in the plate. This is comparatively modern, but taken in 
connection with the dolmens seen in the first cut, we can real- 
ize the changes which occurred in the architecture of that land, 
and yet the same characteristics were retained. 

In Central America we find many columns arranged in 
clusters along the fac^ades of these palaces. A few of them had 
capitals in the shape of square blocks, but the most of them 
were cut in the round, with bands in relief in the center, mak- 
ing a conventional ornament which was characteristic of the 
region. The conclusion which we draw, after comparing these 
structures of the New World with those of the Old World, is 
that architecture was here in about the same stage that it was 
in Greece, in Crete, in Cyprus, in Epirus, and at Athens during 
the pre-Mycenaean Age, which belonged to the proto-historic 




We are now to take up the study of the pyramids as furnish- 
ing another illustration of the beginnings of architecture. It 
is to be noticed chat there were different kinds of pyramids. 
but they all appeared at a period just following the opening 
of history and may be regarded as among the earliest struct- 
ures erected during the historic period, the only exception 
being those found in America at the time of the discovery, and 
these may be said to really belong to the historic stage of 
progress, if not to the historic period. The point which we 
are to make in connection with the pyramids is that they mark 
the type of structure and the form of religion which pre\ail- 
ed at the earliest period, but which grew out of the structures 
and the religious beliefs which prevailed before they appear- 
ed. It will be profitable to us to draw the comparison be- 
tween them and see what points of resemblance and contrasts 
there are to be found, giving especial attention to the motives 
and beliefs which resulted in the erection of these massive 

We have shown already that there were rock cut structures and 
obelisks and altars, as well as tombs, in the various countries 
of the East, but whether the pyramids preceded or followed 
these, remains at present uncertain. Still if we take the line 
of architectural de\elopment for our guide, we would natural- 
'y conclude that the pyramids were all subsequent to the erec- 
tion of the rude stone monuments, and these were subsequent 
to the mounds and caves, the line of succession making it 
appropriate to consider the pyramids after the ruined cities 
and the rock cut structures. 

In treating of the subject we shall begin with the Pyramids 
of Egypt and show their purpose, manner of construction, 
aate of erection, and the motive that ruled, and afterward take 
the pyramids of Babylonia, and follow these with a description 
of the pyramids of America. 

I. Our first inquiry will be in reference to the pyramids of 
Egypt and the contrast between them and those of other 
lands. It is well known that the earliest pyramids in Egypt 


were erected by a dynasty of kings who had come into pow- 
er and who brought the people into subjection, so that they 
were ready to obey their commands, and by this means, the 
resources of the kingdom were brought under their control. 
It is supposed also, that the religious sentiment had great 
sway. These pyramids stand upon the edge of a desert upon 
the western bank of the Nile, near the point where the river 
divides into its many mouths or outlets, showing that the d)'- 
nasty which was in power held control of the lower Nile and 
were in a comparati\'ely high stage of development. 

The three pyramids of Gizeh, called Cheops. Chephrens 
and Mycerinus, are supposed to be the earliest, though there 
are many others of these massiveburial vaults near the metrop- 
olis of the ancient city of Memphis and scattered along the 



plateau of the Libyan de>ert for a distance of many miles. 
They were erected as monuments of the kings and designed to 
preserve the bodies of the kings in power, and were really bu- 
rial \-aults, though they were monuments to the kings and de- 
signed to preserve the body of the kings. It was the belief in 
immortality that was the ruling motive, but an immortality 
which consisted in the preservation of the material form rath 
er than the survival of the spirit as separated from the body. 
The first requirement for the actual construction of the 
pyramid appears to have been the leveling of the rock sur- 
face. This was followed by the excavation of a subterane- 

The torm of this pyramid shows tnat it was modeled after a series of mastebahs, oue- 
above another. 

1 63 

an chamber and the erection of a small truncated pyramid or 
mastabah in the center of the rock. If the life of the king 
were prolonged, he added new outside layers of stone, follew- 
ing the outline of the first structure, thus enlarging the mas- 
tabah or tomb, the pyramid arising in terraces, and really be- 
coming a gigantic mastabah. The opening to the mastabah or 
tomb was below the pyramid and was reached by a long chan- 
nel or passageway which had been cut out of the rock. 

The size of the pyramids shows the great power which the 
king had, and at the same time illustrates the mechanical con- 
trivances which were in use at the period. Still the expense 
of constructing the first pyramid was so great that it nearly- 
exhausted the resources of the kingdom, and the successors 
to the first monarch were obliged to build on a smaller scale^ 
and finally to cease pyramid building altogether. 

The situation of the pyramids marked the dividing line be- 
tween life and death. On one side we see the Ri\'er Nile, with 
the luxuriant fields bordering the river, but on the other side 
all is desolation and dreary waste. The drifting sand shines 
under the glare of the noonday sun, dotted here and there with 
the crumbling remains of ancient tombs. The pyramids were 
illustrative of the belief of the people. According to this be- 
lief every individal consisted of three distinct parts; the body 
belonged to this world, the soul belonged to another world, 
and the double which belonged to the two worlds. A double 
wasgenerally in the form of a statue and was preserved in the 
tomb. The pyramid itself, however, was the means of pre- 
serving the body, and the utmost precaution was taken lest 
the tomb should be opened and the pyramid be despoiled of 
the body. There was orientation practiced in connection with 
this pyramid. It was, however, an orientation which appeared 
only at the earliest period, an east and west orientation, prov- 
ing that the worship was in all probability equinoctial, proving 
also that the ereclio:i of the pyramid had something to do 
with the rising of the Nile and the sowing time, and the har- 
vest time, the inundation of the Nile being the source of life 
and prosperity to the people. The erecting of the sphinx near 
the pyramids was also suggestive of the religious belief of the 
people. It is not known at present what king erected the 
sphinx, but as it is situ ited east of the middle pyramid and in 
the immediate foreground, and was sculptured from the solid 
rock so as to look toward the rising sun, it is supposed that it 
was wrought out at the time when the equinoctial worship was 
prevalent and before the solstitial worship came into vogue. 

To the ancient Egyptian the River Nile was a mystery. 
They believed that a god dwelt within its waters. It was per- 
fectly natural that the temples should be made sacred to the 
gods which ruled over the waters, and that the lotus plants 
which grew in the waters of the Nile should be imitated in 
the pillars that adorned the temples. The trinity of the Egyp- 


tian ^ods consisted of Osiris, Isis, and Horus. The images of 
these gods were placed in the temples, but there were no images 
in the pyramids or even outside of them, except the image of 
the sphinx, which was represented as having the form of an 
animal with a human head, and was regarded as a symbol of 
Horus, the early morning sun. 

The association of the pyramid and temple is to be consider- 
ed in this connection. There are temples in Egypt wiiich were 
erected long after the days of the pyramids, and by dynasties 
which were entirely distinct from the pyramid builders, but 
the earliest temples are supposed to have been contemporane- 
ous with the pyramids. The temple of the Sphinx shown 

in the cut is proof 
of this. It was dis- 
covered in 1853. It 
lies below the level 
of the sand and was 
constructed by the 
pyramid builder. In 
a deep well in the 
corner of one of the 
rooms were found 
nine statues of Che- 
pheren or Cheops. 
The columns of this 
temple differ from 
those found in any 
of the later temples. 
They are mere mas- 
sive blocks of gran- 
ite without orna- 
mentation, and sup- 
port other blocks 
which form the roof 
of the temple; the 
principle of the pier 
and lintel being em- 
bodied in them but 
without cornice or 
capital, thus allying 
the columns with the 
architectural struc- 
^ tures of the later 


The magnitude of the pyramids of Egypt has impressed 
every one who has looked upon them; and yet the beauty and 
symmetr}^ of the temples adjoining ha\-e cdled forth the ad- 
miration of all; as the contrast between the two classes of 
works strengthens the impression. This is illustrated by the 

•The cut shows the veneering on the pyramid the rock below the bpbinx and the buried 
, mp\e of the Sphinx. 


description which is given of the pyramid, written by Mr. 
Ebers, the famous Egyptologist, as compared with the des- 
cription of the temple at Karnak, written by Miss Amelia B. 
Edwards. Mr. Ebers says: 

"We stand before the largest of the works of man which as 
we know the ancients glorified as one of the wonders of the 
world. Only bv a compan.son with other structures present in 
our memory, can any idea of their immensity be missed. 
While St. Peters in Rome, is 430 ft. high, the great pyramids 
of Cheops is 482 ft. high, or 52 feet taller. If the pyramid of 
Cheops were hollow, the great cathedral eould be placed with- 
in it like a clock under a protecting glass. 

Neither St. Stephen's Cathedral of Vienna, nor that of 
Strasburg, reaches the height or the largest pyramid, and only 
the new tower of the Cathedral of Cologne exceeds it. In 
one respect no other building in the world can be compared 
with the pyramids, and that is, in regard to the mass and 
weight of the material used in the construction. If the tomb 
of Cheops were razed, a wall could be built all around the bor- 
ders of France. If one fires a good pistol from the top, the 
ball falls half wiy do vn its side. "Time marks all things, but 
the pyramids mark time," is the Arabian proverb." 

Tiie following is Miss Edwaid's description: 

The great hall of Karnak and its columns are enormous. 
Six men standing with extended arms, finger-tip to finger tip, 
could barely reach around any one of them. The largest col- 
umn casts a shadow 12 ft. in breadth. The capitol juts out so 
high aiiove one's head that it looks as though it might have 
been placed there to support the heavens It is carved in 
the semblance of a full blown lotus, and glows with undying 
colors, colors that are still fresh though laid on by hands that 
ha\e been dust 3,000 years or more. The beams are huge 
monoliths carved and painted, bridging the span from pillar to 
pillar, and darkening the floor beneath with bands of shadow. 

Looking up and down the central avenue, we see at one 
end a flame like obelisk, and at the other a background of 
glowing mountains; to right and left, and through long lines 
of columns, we catch glimpses of colossal bas-reliefs lining 
the roofless walls in every direction. Half in light and half 
in shadow these slender fantastic forms stand out sharp and 
clear and colorless. Each figure is some 18 or 20 ft. in height. 
It may be, that the traveler who finds himself for the first time 
in the midst of a grove of gigantic oaks, feels something of 
the .came overwhelming sense of awe and wonder, but the 
great trees have taken 3,000 years to grow and do not strike 
their roots through six thousand years of history. 

Mr. A. H. Keene also says of the construction of the pyra- 

" It was formerly an Ee^yptian tomb 4 ft. square at the base and taper- 
ing up to a point. The Greek term 'pyramid' signifies 'pointed hke a 


flame of fire.' The pyramids of JEgypt are in the first place the tomb of 
kings. The rise of this type has been ascribed to the-6th or 7th Dynasty, 
3400 or 3200 B. C. The Royal pyramids are numerous, but none have been 
the subject of architectural study e.xcept the largest. That of Medum, 400 
B.C.. seems to have been built over a mastebah, but it was sheathed with 
masonry, and brought to a point. The great pyramids of Gizeh have been 
supposed to have giined their great size from continued enlarging and re- 
casing through a long reign. Tne pyramids are mainly cairns. Thty are 
solid masses of stone or brick, but each has a chamber with several passa- 
ges leading to them which are carefully concealed, while false passages ex- 
ist which are intended to deceive plunderers."* 

The sides of the three great pyramids of Egypt face the 
four cardinal points of the compass. Cheops measures 750 ft. 
on each of the four sides. It is 450 ft. in height, and covers 
an area of nearly 13 acres. Its estimated weight is about 7,- 
000.000 tons. 

There were changes in the construction of the pyramids. 
The first or oldest is the so called step pyramid of Sakkarah 
The steps are six in number and vary in height from 38 to 29 
feet, their width being about 6 feet. The dimensions are 352X 
396 feet, and 197 feet high. Some authorities think this pyra- 
mid was erected in the first dynasty. The arrangement of 
chambers in the pyrimid is quite special. The claim to the 
highest antiquity is disputed by some in favor of the "False 
P)ramid of Medum." This is a step pyramid 115 feet high, 
and shows three stages, 70, 2o and 25 feet high. This presents 
the form of the Mastabah more fully than any other pyramid, 
and shows clearly how the pyramids of Egypt originated 
The blunted pyramid of Dashur forms one of the group of 
four, tv o of stone and two of brick. The dimensions of these 
are as follows: 700x700 — 326 feet high; 620x620—321 feet 
high; 350x350—90 feet high; 343x343 — 156 feet high. Ac- 
cording to Prof. F. Petrie there is a small temple on the east 
side of the pyramid of Medum. At sunset at the equinox the 
sepulchre chamber and the sun were in line from the adytum. 

Th^sphinx near the pyramid of Cheops was oriented true 
east and ma}' possibly be ascribed to the early pyramid build- 
ers. It could only have been sculptured by a race with an 
equinoctial cult. The east and west orientation is seen at the 
pyramids of Gizeh. f 

It appears that pyramid building ceased after the sixth dy- 
nasty but was revived in the twelfth dynasty. Just before the 
Hyk^os period King Amenhotep III. returned to the gigantic 
irrigation works of the pyramid building of the earlier dynas- 
ties. Two ornamental pyramids were built, surrounded by 
statues, and the king himself was buried in the pyramid near 
the labyrinth. 

•See Staff >rd's Compendium ot Oeogr.iphy aad Travel' "Central and South America," Uy 
A. H. Keene, Lonlon. Stanford & Co. 1901. 

tSce Dawn of Astro omy, P. 337, by Norman Lockyer. 


II. "We turn now from the pyramids of Egypt to those of 
Babylonia, but shall notice the contrast between the two class- 
es. One of the points of difference is found in the manner of 
orienting the pyramids. Those of Babylonia are oriented to- 
wards the solstices, the corners towards the points of the com- 
pass. This has been taken by Mr. Norman Lockyer as evi- 
dence that the pyramids of Babylonia were older than those 
of Egypt, as solstitial worship is supposed to be older than 
the equinoctial.* 

He says: "The east and west orientation is chiefly re- 
markable at the pyramids of Gizeh and the associate temples, 
but it is not confined to them. The argument in favor of 
these structures being the work of intruders, is that a perfectly 
new astronomical idea comes in, as quite out of place in 
Egypt, with the solstitial rising river, as the autumnal equinox 
was at Eridu, with the river rising at the spring equinox. 

"We are justified from what is now knovvn of the Nile dom- 
inating and defining the commencement of the Egyptian year 
at the solstices, in concluding that other ancient peoples placed 
in like conditions would act in the same way; and if these 
conditions were such that spring would mean sowing time and 
autumn harvest time, their year would begin at an equinox." 
There are other evidences ^o prove that the pyramids of 
Babylonia were the oldest in the world, while those of Eg\-pt 
are orientated toward the equinoxes, their sides toward the 
points of the compass. 

The pyramids of Babylonia have a tradition connected 
with them which goes back to the earliest time. This tradition 
has been preserved in the sacred Scriptures. Various inter- 
pretations have been given to it and to the whole story of the 
delugfe with which it seems to have been connected. Accord- 
ing to the celebrated author Ihering, the whole story of the 
Garden of Eden, the sin of the first pair, the banishment, the 
contest between Cain and Abel, was a pictorial representation 
of the progress of society from a primitive condition, up 
through the various stages. The change from?, natural state, 
where the people fed upon fruits, was followed by the shep- 
herd life, and that by the agricultural or the raising of fruit 
and grain, a contest occurring between the shepherds and ag- 
riculturists all represented by the story of Cain and Abel. 
The building of the first city was by the agriculturists, but the 
building of the first Pyramid was to escape the floods to 
which the \-alley of the Tigris and Euphrates was subject. 

The confirmation of the story is founded on the fact 
that the ' first pyramid was actually erected to escape the 
floods which were so common in the valley of the Tigris and 
Euphrates. Whatever we may say about the correctness of 
this interpretation, we must conclude that the tradition at least 

* ■• 

•Dawn of Astronomy, p. 366' 


favors the extreme antiquity of the pyramids of this locality. 
The recent discovery by the party sent out by the University 
of Pennsylvania to explore the ruined cities in the valley of 
the Tigris, also confirms the theory. The opinion expressed by 
the chief of the party, Professor Hilprecht, is th^t the pyra- 
mids here were built perhaps as early as 6000 3. C. which 
would make them two or three thousand years older than 
those of Egypt. It is true that certain graves have been dis- 
covered in Egypt which carry back th(,' date of the first or 
oldest race to a marvellous antiquity, but the pyramids here 
were certainly not built before the days of Menes, the first 
king, and no one claims for his reign a date earlier than 3500 
B. C. 

It is true that burials which belong to the Stone age have 
been found in Egypt. They carry us back to a more primitive 
stage, but the date of the Babylonian pyramids is supposed to 
be much earlier. The discovery of libraries at Babylonia con- 
taining tablets with cuneiform writing upon them carries back 
the date of the Babylonian civilization much further than that 
of Egypt and confirms the tradition in reference to the valley 
of the Tigris having been the original home of the human 

The fact that the pyramids of Babylonia were built in imi- 
tation ot mountains favors their antiquity. This confirms the 
tradition in reference to the ark resting upon a mountain, 
which shows that the pyramid builders here originallv migrat- 
ed from the mountains. The difference in the construction is 
to be noticed. The pyramids of Babylonia were ziggurats or 
towers and not pyramids at all, nor were they used for burial 
places, but rather the foundation for temples or shrines. 

Many differences between the p)ramids of Egypt and 
those of Babylonia may be traced. 

1. The pyramids of Egypt were tor the most part con- 
structed for tombs and had no buildings upon the summit or 
in the immediate vicinity. The temple of the Great Sphinx, 
discovered in 1853 below the level of the sand, was construct- 
ed by the pyramid builders. This temple was, however, a 
tomb as well as a temple. Numerous other tombs of great in- 
terast have been discovered near the temples; that of Edtou, 
the one at Sakkarah, the -tomb of Beni Hassen, are supposed 
to belong to the same period. 

2. The pyramids of Egypt were constructed out of heavy 
blocks of stone which, with incredible toil, were transported 
from the mountains upon the other side of the river and lifted 
to their height by mere brute strength. The pyramids of 
Babylonia were generally constructed out of earth, and were 
built in terraces; the ends were veneered with stone, pavements 
of stone being placed on the platforms or terraces, and either 
palace, or shrine, or temple being placed upon the summit. 


3- The pyramids of Egypt were perfect pyramids. They 
were built in imitation of mastabahs or primitive Egyptian 
houses, or tombs placed upon one another, thus making terra- 
ces, but before they were completed the terraces were filled 
with stone, and the whole was covered with a veneering of 
polished flint, which made them perfect cubes. The only 
room or house about them was on the inside or below the sur- 
face. The pyramids of Babylonia on the contrary were always 
built in terraces and were surmounted by a building of some 
kind, either a palace, a temple, or a religious house, and were 
never perfect pyramids. They resembled the pyramids of 
America much more than they did those of Egypt. 

4. Another difference is shown in the fact that in Ba- 
■ bylonia the pyramids were all orientated toward the solstices, 

the corners toward the points of the compass. "It is almost 
impossible to suppose that those who worshiped the sun at the 
solstice did not begin the year at the solstice, and that those 
who proposed to arrange themselves as equinoctials did not 
begin the year at an equinox. Both of these practices could 
hardly go on in the case of the same race in the same coun- 
try. We have then, a valuable hint of the equinoctial cult of 
Gizeh, which in all probability was interpolated after the non- 
equinoctial worship had been first founded at Abydos 
and possibly Thebes.'' 

5. We notice another difference between the pyramids of 
Egypt and those of Babylonia * "One of the oldest pyramids 
in Egypt is the so-called step pyramid of Sakkarah. The 
steps are six in number and \-ary in height from 3S to 29 feet, 
their width being 6 feet. Some authorities think that this 
was erected in the first dynasty by the 4th king, but was built 
after the pattern of a series of mastabahs imposed on one 
another. There are 16 step pyramids in the valley of the Nile. 

The question has arisen as to the relative antiquity of the 
pyramids of Babylonia, some having claimed that those of 
Egypt were the older, but others have given the precedence to 
those of Babylonia. The best authority, however, is Norman 
Lockyer, and he maintains that the pyramids of Egypt were 
built by an intruding race from Babylonia called the "new 
race," the name being taken from the fact that it was newly 

The great pyramids of Egypt were built in the time of the 
4th dynast)-, but two or three distinct periods had passed be- 
fore this dynasty began. The first period was marked by a 
people who were in the Stone age. 

The second period marked by the peculiar bu- 
rials and the peculiar character of relics. The burial was in 
the circular grave with an immense number of pottery vessels 
arranged around the bodies, the deposit indicating that the 
people lived in circular huts. 

See Dawn o( Astronomy, page 333 


The third period was marked by burial in a mastabah or 
rectangular tomb, built in imitation of the dwelling house of 
the people, the body being placed in a cellar or well below the 

The date of the earliest known pyramids in Egypt may be 
put down as about 3700 B. C. or 4200 B. C. There is conclu- 
sive evidence that the kings of Rabylon built ziggurats or tow- 
ers which were in reality step pyramids, as early as 4200 B. C. 
There was an equality of arts and the possession of similar 
fools in Chaldea and in Egj-pt at about the same time. 

If this is a correct explanation, then we may regard the 
pyramid at Babylon as a monument of one of the most im- 
portant events of history, as well as the reminder of a great 
convulsion of nature. 

This does not, to be sure, fully account for the peculiar 
manner in which the pyramid was built, nor does it account 
for the fact that the different terraces bore different col- 
ors and were sacred to the different planets, the shrine upon 
its summit being sacred to the sun. 

Least of all does it account for the presence of courts and 
columns and other peculiarities of construction such as have 
been disclosed by recent excavations. Yet notvvitstanding all 
the discrepancies, the traditions of the past and the explora- 
tions of the present have combined to make the spot a mem- 
orable one. 

All of these differences seem to confirm the opinion 
that upon this very spot near the mouth of the Tigris, 
the earliest civilfzation appeared, and from this as a center 
not only the historic but even many of the prehistoric 
races began their migrations, the tradition of the f^ood spread- 
ing from the center to nearly all parts of the world. It is 
also the opinion of the best Egyptologists that these and 
other pyramids in Babylonia preceded those of Egypt, the 
civilization of this region having reached a high point even 
when in Egypt, the recently found race called the "new 
race" were m the stage of barbarism wjiich was peculiar to 
the Stone age, the circular graves and the. pottery vessels 
recently discovered being supplanted by the mastabahs and 
pvramids which the imigrants from the East had introduc- 

It is then to the pyramids of Babylonia that we look 
for the earliest tokens of civilization and for the earliest 
record of history. 

III. The pyramids of America will ne.xt engage our at- 
tention, It is well known that there are many pyramids on 
this continent. Some of them, constructed of earth, are found 
in the Mississippi x^alley, others, made out of stone and earth 
combined, in Mexico and Central America, still others, made 
out of stone altogether, in Peru; a great variety of shapes be- 
ing presented by the pyramids here. It has been the favoriite 


theory with certain writers, especially the celebrated LePlon- 
geon, that the pyramids of Central America were exactly like 
the pyramids of Egypt, and were perhaps constructed by a 
colony from Egypt. In support of this opinion he refers to 
the various statues which in some respects resemble those 
found in the valley of the Nile, and claims that even the mod- 
el of the sphinx has been discovered here. In order to do 
av/ay with this visionary theory we shall show the probable 
origin of the pyramids of America. 

It was very natural for the people upon this continent to 
erect pyramids or pyramid mounds for the purpose of raising 
their houses, and especially the houses of the ruling classes, 
above the surface, for by this means they could be free from 
the overflow of the streams, from the attack of wild animals, 
and from the malaria and heat, which continued upon the sur- 
face, and made the nights so uncomfortable and the people so 
liable to sickness, especially in tropical regions. The largest 
pyramids were erected here in the same latitude with those of 
Egypt and Babylonia, and many of the circumstances were 
similar, but this does not prove any connection between the 

It is certainly eas\- ^^ 
to trace a resemblance S 
between the platform | 
mounds and pyramid"^ 
earth works of the Mis- 
sissippi valley and tht 
various pyramids oi % 
Mexico and Central _^_ 
America for they seem ^( 
to ha\e been built after ^^-1 
the same general 
model, the terraces pvramid mound in ohio 

rising above one another in succession, with stairways or graded 
ways leading up to their summits upon either side. Many of 
them were placed inside of enclosures and had their sides 
oriented exactly as were the temples and pyramids in the cen- 
tral provinces. These platforms were surmounted by different 
official buildings. 

A still more .'striking resemblance may be found in the so- 
called Chunkey Yards in the Gulf states, for these were gen- 
erally placed in the center of the village and were used as the 
place of amusenient for the people, the rotunda being at one 
end of the public square, and in all these respects resembled 
the tennis courts or gymnasiums which are so noticeable in 
Central America the very arrangement of the buildings and 
the vards suggesting a comn;on origin. 

These resemblances however, do not furnish any explana 
tionof the origin of the pyrnmids in America, nor do they prove 
that the pyramid builders here have any connection with the 


pyramid builders of the old world, but oh the contrkry they 
must be taken as another illustration of the law of p;irallel de- 
velopment, the agricultural life and sedentary state of the 
mound builders leading them to adopt the s^amc form of reli- 
gion and the same general customs which were adopted by the 
pyramid builders in the countries of the East. 

It should be said that a theory has been advanced in ref- 
erence to the pyramids of America which would make them 
the work of a mysterious race who once inhabited the greater 
part of the North American continent, aud who constructed 
the platform mounds of the Mississippi valle)-, and erected 
the many storied pueblos of the interior, and the lofty terrace 
pyramids of Mexico, and filled one entire belt of latitude with 
the tokens of their presence. 

This theory, however, would be decidedly misleading, for 
whatever we may conclude as to the time when this continent 
was first reached, or as to the direction which the first inhabit- 
ants took in their migration, the evidence is that all the struct- 


ures which have thus far been discovered are the works of dif- 
ferent tribes and races. 

We are to notice, however, that the early stages of architec- 
ture are to be recognized on this continent, and what is more, 
the very influences and causes which led the nations of the 
East to erect their great pyramids and to make them their 
chief and most lasting monuments, led the natives of this 
country to erect their structures which have the pyramidal 
form. What those influences were is not easily determined. 
Yet it is probable that the mod6 of life or occupation, the so- 
cial conditions, the religious belief and the mythological con- 
ceptions had as much to do with the forms of their structures 
as their mechanical skill had, and to these we must look for 
our explanation of the pyramids. It is well known that the 
pyramids of the East were b jilt by an agricultural people who 
never settled in permanent villages or cities and were generally 
sun worshipers, and that temples to the sun were frequently 
associated with the pyramids. 

The same may also be said of the pyramids of this conti- 
nent, for there are no pyramids except in those regions where 
agriculture abounds, and where sun worship prevailed, but 
pyramids are the most numerous where sun w^orship and sky 


vvorship prevailed with the great- 
est force. Many of the pyramids 
were to be sure erected under the 
shadow of great mountains, and 
there may have been an attempt 
to imitate the mountains in the 
sizp and shape of the pyramids, 
yet we do not learn that there are 
any shrines devoted to the moun- 
tain divinities, as personifications 
of the sun and moon and the 
heavenly bodies were very nume- 
rous, and nearly all the shrines 
and temples, as well as the pyra- 
mids, were devoted to their wor- 
ship. In fact we may conclude 
that the pyramids of America had 
their origin in the same causes that 
led to the erection of the pyra- 
mids of Egypt and Babylonia, and 
that the same religious systems 
were embodied in them that were 
eiiibodied in the great structures 
of the East, also those which re- 
late to religions such as sacred 
places, priesthoods, native pan- 
theons worship, private religion 
.ind religious literature are especi- 
ally pertinent. 

The pyramids ot America in- 
terest us fully as much as do those 
of Egypt or Babylonia, though 
less is known concerning them, 
their builders, or even their his- 
tor)-. It is not claimed that they 
are as ancient as those of the old 
world, nor is it maintained that 
as much labor and oxpense was 
laid on them, and yet their form 
and clraracter and the manner of 
their erection are worthy of es- 
pecial study. 

Some of these pyramids were 
built in terraces designed for the 
support of palaces resembling the 
one shown in the cut which re- 
presents the governor's house at 

it will be noticed in the first 
place that there were quite three 


distinct regions on the continent in which pyramids were 
common, and three distinct races who were pyramid builders, 
the Aztecs having built tlie majority of those found in Mexico, 
the Mayas those scattered through Central America, and the 
far famed Incas having built those found in Peru. 

It is to be noticed further that the style of building the 
pyramids varied according to the locality in which they were 
found, as those in Mexico are frequently placed upon natural 
elevations and owe their height to this circumstance, while 
those of Central America were generally built upon the same 
level, but reached to different heights according to the pur- 
pose for which they were designed, those which were to serve 
for the support of ihe palaces were built upon terraces spread 
over a large plat of ground, those designed for temples were 
compact and small, but reached a height which overtopped all 
other structures, while those designed for religious houses or 
for other purposes, varied in size and height. 

There were many terraced pyramids scattered through the 
country on which large buildings were erected resembling 
those which were common in New Mexico. These, because 
of their size and shape, were formerly supposed to be commu- 
nistic houses like the Pueblos of the north, and the theory was 
advanced that the people lived in the same manner. This, 
however, has proved to be a mistake, for all the pyramids of 
Mexico and Central America, as well as those of Peru, were 
built and occupied by the ruling class. Their very height and 
size impressed the common people with a feeling of awe for 
those who were in power and the many ceremonies which 
were conducted on 'the summit of the pyramids served to 
strengthen the feeling. It was a strange use to make of ar- 
chitecture and of art, and yet there was not a stairway which 
led up to the summit of a pyramid, nor a figure or ornament 
on the facade of any palace, or an image on any temple that 
rose above a pyramid, which did not contribute to the power 
of the priests and kings and increase the superstition of the 

The element of terror was hidden in ever)' ornament which 
was wrought by the hand of man, and served as a constant 
guard at the entrance of every temple and palace, the very 
height of the pyramids on which they were placed making the 
feeling all the more intense. It was an unconscious influence, 
for if the'sense of the sublime was awakened by the height of 
the pyramids, the same sense was kept alive by the strange 
and grotesque figures which appeared on the faca-des of the 
palaces and the temples, the very stairways which serxed as 
the means of approach being so wrought as to be the most 
awe inspiring of all. 

In this respect we may say that the pyramids of America 
were in great contrast to those of any other country, for while 
they were in themselves ver}' plain, and simply served the 


purpose of platforms to the temples and palaces, yet the as- 
sociation of the*plalforms with the buildincrs upon their sum- 
mit was so close as to make them appear like one structures 
The same spirit that pervaded the decorations of the facade' 
also filled the mass of the pyramids which supported them. 

These points are to be borne in mind as we proceed, for it 
is not to the size or strength of the pyramids that we shall call 
especial attention, but rather to the peculiar mission which they 
performed in connection with the temples and palaces which 
were raised above them, the close combination of the build- 
ings with the masses which supported them making them more 
interesting as objects of study. 

As to the pyramids in Mexico, it is very plain that the ma- 
joritv of them were designed for the support of a temple or 
place of sacrifice, and as the height of the pyramid would 
make the ceremony all the more imposing and would give 
such effect to the sacrifice as to overawe the people and make 
them feel the power of the p-iests and kings. Thus people 


somecimes resorted to the mountains and placed their altars 
upon the heights which overlooked the valleys and there light- 
ed their sacrificial fires. We referred to one such temple in 
another place. The following is the account: 

They are all situated upon the summit of pyramids, but were 
probably so placed for the sake of escaping the malaria and 
heat, and taking advantage of the cool breezes which would 
sweep over them at their height. 

About a hundred and fifty miles north-westward from Vera 
Cruz, fifty miles in the same direction from Misantla, forty- 
five miles from the Coast, and four or five miles southwest from 


the pueblo of Papantla, stands the pyramid shown in the cut, 
known to the world by the name of pueblo Papantla, but 
called by the Totonac natives of the region, Kl Fajin, " the 
thunderbolt. " 

The pyramid stands in a dense forest, apparently not on a 
naturally or artificially fortified plateau, like the remains far- 
ther south. Its base is square, measuring a little over ninety 
feet on each side, and the height is about fifty-four feet; the 
whole structure was built in seven stories, the upper story be- 
ing partially in ruins. Except the upper story, which seems to 
have contained interior compartments, the whole structure 
was, so far as is known, solid. The material of which it was 
built, is a sandstone, in regular cut blocks laid in mortar, al- 
though Humboldt, perhaps on the authority of Dupaix, says 
the material is deposited in immense blocks covered with hiero- 
glyphic sculpture, the whole covered on the exterior surface 
with a hard cement three inches thick, which also bears traces 
of having been painted. 

There was a temple at Xochicalco, the hill of flowers; this 
is a natural elevation, of conical form, with an oval base, over 
two miles in circumference, rising from the plain to a height 
of nearly four hundred feet. Traces of paved roads of large 
stones tightly wedged together, lead in straight lines towards 
the hills from different directions. We find the hill covered 
from top to bottom with masonry. Five terraces paved with 
stone and mortar, and supported by perpendicular walls of the 
some material, extend in oval form, entirely round the whole 
circumference of the hill, one above the other. Neither the 
width of the paved platforms, nor the height of the supporting 
walls, has been given by any explorer, but each terrace, with 
the corresponding intermediate slope, constitutes something 
over seventy feet of the height of the hill. 

The very fact of its being a pyramid in several stories, gives 
to Xochicalco, a general likeness to all the more important 
American ruins. The terraces on the hill slopes have their 
counterparts at Kabah Cho'ida, and elsewhere; still, as a 
whole, the pyramid of Xochicalco, stands above all as its archi- 
tecture and sculpture, presents a strong contrast with Copan 
Uxmal, Palenque, Mitla, Cholula, Teotihuacan, or the many 
pyramids of Vera Cruz. It must be remembered that all 
the graded temples in Anahuac or Mexico, have disappeared 
since the conquest, so that a comparison with such buildings 
as that of Xochicalco is impossible. 

In the centre of one of the facades, is an open space, some- 
thing over twenty feet wide, bounded by solid balistrades, and 
probably, occupied originally by a stair-way, although it is said 
that no traces of steps have been found among the debris. 

The pyramid, or at least its facing, is built of large blocks of 
granite or porphyry, a kind of stone not found within a dis- 
tance of many leagues. The blocks are of different sizes, the 








largest being about eleven feet long and three feet high, very 
few being less than five feet in length. They are laid without 
mortar, and so nicely is the work done that the joints are scar- 
cely perceptible. 

It was among the sheltered spots here that, the ancients 
built their tombs, several of which have been found, being in 
the form of stone-lined cists. The most prominent peak of 
this southern range, is at the western end, towering high above 
the rest, guarding, as it were, the Cuernavaca valley. This 
mountain is named Chalchihuitepetl, or, hill of the Chalchi- 
huite, the sacred green stone of ancient Mexico and Central 
America. There are said to be old quarries of it on the southern 
side of the mountain, which have not yet been investigated. 

It was placed on a very conspicuous point upon a mountain 
height which overlooked a wide valley, the temple itself be- 
ing built in the form of a pyramid, but with the altar in front 
instead of upon the top. The temple was divided into two 
parts. At its entrance were two square pillars, making threj 
doorways, but in the rear was a shrine with hieroglyphics on 
the walls. There was a fire bed in front of the temple which 
gives the idea that human sacrifice may have been offered up- 
on this spot, thus making the mountain itself serve the same 
purpose as an artificial pyramid.* 

The eastern end of the temple, shows a structure com- 
posed of four parts, the lowest, simply a wide foundation 
built of rough stones connected together. This serves as a 
foundation for the second part, the two forming a truncated 
pyramid. Against the eastern side of the pyramid are the remains 
of a steep flight of steps; resting upon the lower pyramid is a 
smaller flight one of the same form. Accordingly we reach the 
lower platform and, are in front of the old temple, which faced 
the west. The temple is slightly smaller than the pyramid. 
Nothing remains of the front wall with the exception of two 
square columns, showing a wide central door, with a narrow 
one on either side. This temple is divided into two rooms. At 
either end of the front room was a narrow bench or seat built 
against the wall; in its centre was an altar, where the 
sacred fire was lighted. The importance of this altar, is 
found in the fact that it was upon the summit of a mountain 
overlooking a wide valley and was probably used as a place of 
sacrifice. It is well known that, human sacrifice was practic- 
ed by the Aztecs, and that the Teocalli reeked with human 
gore. The most important feature of the ruin is, the hierog- 
lyphic inscription. This establishes the date of the temple at 
1502, A. D. ; seventeen years before the entry of Cortez inlo 
Mexico. It is one of the few ruined temples which have been 
discovered, and its discovery shows that the same form of 
temple architecture prevailed among the Aztecs that had pre- 

*Human Sacrifices seem to have been practiced by the Aztecs and perhaps by theToltecs 
but not by the Mayas. 


vailed among the Toltecs, but the temple among the Aztecs 
was devoticl to human sacrifice. 

The p\ramids of Central America are similar to those of 
Mexico in many respects, and yet diffrr enough to warrant 
a separate account of them. 

The cities here, are all very much alike. There was, in each 
a palace, which was generall)- arranged in a quadrangle, and 
furnished with courts and plazas, having wide terraces or plat- 
forms, in front of them, while the temples, were single build- 
ings, placed on the summit of a lofty pyramid and, were ap- 
proached by stairways, some of which were in the shape of ser- 
pents, whose heads projected beyond the stairway. There was 
a slight difference between the tehiples of the Mayas and Nah- 
uas, but the difference consisted more in the orna.-nentation 
than in the construction. 

Bancroft says: " Having fixed upon a site for a proposed 
edifice the Maya builder invariably constructed an artificial 


elevation on which it might rest. If it was a palace or a Nun- 
nery so called, or some other public building, the elevation would 
consist of a series of wide terraces and platforms, which were 
surmounted by the buildings which were generally a single 
story in height, but so covered with heavy cornices and enta- 
blatures as to make them appear to be at least two stories in 
height. The tower in the centre, often arose to a height of 
three and four stories, thus giving them an imposing appear- 
ance. The palaces were generally long buildings, and had 
many doorways, some of which opened outward toward the 
terraces; others inward, toward the court." 

"All of the pyramids are truncated; none forming a point at 
the top. A few of them have been found to have contained 
tombs, which were probably the tombs of kings or priests. 


Some of the temples have tombs in the lower stories, with 
stairs leading down to the chambers. The edifices supported 
by the mounds, were built upon the summit platform, and, gen- 
erally, cover the platform with the exception of a narrow esp- 
lanade around them. The palaces are built in receding ranges, 
one above another, on the slope, and are quite imposing in 
their appearance. One building usually occupies the summit, 
but in several cases, four of them enclose an interior court 


yard. The buildings are low and narrow. Thirty-one feet is 
the greatest height; thirty-nine feet the greatest width; three- 
hundred thirty-two feet the greatest length. The roofs are flat, 
and like ths floors, covered with cement." 

The walls are in proportion to the dimensions of the build- 
ing, very thick, usually from three to six feet, but sometimes 
nine feet. The interior has generally two, rarely four, parallel 
ranges of rooms, while in a few of the smaller buildings an unin- 
terrupted conidor extended the whole length. Neither 
rooms nor corridors e\-er exceed twenty 'feet in width or 


length, while the ordinary width is eight to ten feet, and the 
height fifteen to eighteen feet; sixty feet is the greatest length 
noted. The walls of each room rise, perpendicurlarly, for one- 
half their height and, then approach each other by the stone 
blocks oxerlapping horizontally to within about one foot, the 
intervening space beingcovered with alayer of wide flat stones, 
and the projecting corners being beveled off to form a straight 
or rarely a curved Surface. 

This shows the general characteristics of the various pyra 
mids and palaces but we shall need to take specific cases to 
understand them fully. We have given a number of cuts 
which illustrate the different pyramids, especially those on 
which temples were erected. One of them represents the pyra- 
mid at Izamal which Charnay visited and has described. 

He says: "The great mound is called Kinich-Kakmo 'the 
sun's face with fiery rays," from an idol which stood in the tem- 
ple crowning its summit. The monument consists of two parts, 
ihe basement, nearly 650 feet long, surmounted by an immense 
platform, and the small pyramid to the north. Facing this to 
the south was another great mound. The third pyramid to the 
east supported a temple dedicated to Zamna, the founder of 
the great Maya Empire. The fourth pyramid to the west had 
on its summit the palace of the 'commander-in-chief of 8000 
flints.' On its side near the basement, consisting of stone, 
laid without mortar, stood ithe gigantic face reproduced by 
Stephens. It is 7 feet 8 inches high. The features are rudely 
formed of small rough stones and afterward covered with 
stucco. On the east side is the collossal head 13 ft. high, the 
eyes, nose, and under lip formed of rough stones covered over 
with mortar, while double spirals, symbols of 'wind or speech 
may be seen, similar to those in Mexico at Palenque and Chic- 
hen Itza." 

The pyramids and palaces at Uxmal are also worthy of 
notice. They have been described by different writers, among 
them Mr. J. L. Stephens, Charnay, Mr. W. H. Holmes, Mr. 
Bancroft and others. Mr. Holmes has furnished a panorama 
which shows the number and shape of these pyramids, and a 
general description of them from which we make brief extracts: 

" The pyramid Temple of the Magicians (A); the Nunnery quadrangle 
(B); the Gymnasium (C); the House of the Turtles (D); the Governor's palace 
(K); the House of the Pigeons (F); and near it the massive pyramid (G); also 
the temple crowned pyramid (H); and a group consisting of two pyramids 
(I); and further away ruined masses." 

A pyramid at Uxmal is described by Charnay but he 
calls it the Dwarf's House. He says: "It is a charming tem- 
ple crowning a pyramid with a very steep slope 400 feet high. 
It consists of two parts, one reared on the upper summit, 
the other a kind of chapel, lower down, facing the town. It 
was richly ornamented and presumably dedicated to a great 
deity. Two stairways facing east and west led to these build- 


O this House of the Magicians (A) Mr. Hohncs savs: "This 
temple may well be regarded as the most notable amon- the 
group and is the first to catch the eye of the visitor Thelem- 
ple which crowns the summit is some 70 feet lono- by i^ feet 
wide and con tams three rooms the middle one b'eing longer 

than the others. 

The Nunnery qua- 
drangle(B) he says, is 
among the best known 
specimens of Maya 
architecture. Four 
great rectangular 
structures, low, heavy 
and formal in general 
conformation, stand 
upon a broad terrace 
in quadrangular ar- 
rangement. The ter- 
race measures up- 
wards of 300 feet 
square. The four great 
facades facing the 
court are among the 
most notable in Yu- 
catan and deserve es- 
pecial attention at 
the hands of students 
of American art. Of 
the Governor's Horse 
hesays:*(E) "This su- 
perb building crown- 
ing the summit is re- 
garded as the most 
important single 
I structure of its class 
in Yucatan and tor 
that matter in Ame- 
rica. It is extremely 
simple in plan and 
outlme being a tra- 
pezoidal mass some 
320 feet long, 40 feet 
wide and 25 or 26 feet 
high. It is partially 
separated into three 
parts, a long middle 
section, and two 
shorter sections, with 
i recesses leading to 

•The plate represents the povernor's House and the House of thTTfagid^ 


two great transverse archways. The front wall is pierced by 
nine principal doorways and by two archway openings and 
presents a facade of rare beauty and great originality." 

"One of the grandest structures in Uxmal is the great trun- 
cated pyramid (G) seen in the panorama rising at the south- 
west corner of the main terrace of the palace. It is sixty or 
seventy feet in height, and measures, according to Stephens, 
some 200 ft. by 300 ft. at the base. This author described a sum- 
mit platform 65 feet square and three feet high, and a narrow 
terrace extending all around the pyramid fifteen feet below 
the crest. The surfaces seem to have been richly decorated 
with characteristic sculptures.'" 

Of the House of the Pigeons(F)he says: "This unique structure 
is a remarkable quadrangle which could appropriately be called 
the Quadrangle of the Nine Gables. The court of this quad- 
rangle is I80 feet from east to vvest and 150 from north to 
south. Here was a great building of unusual construction and 
size with an arch opening through the middle into a court 
bearing upon its roof a colossal masonry cone, built at an enor- 
mous expenditure of time and labor." 

The pyramids at Palenque are aNo described by various 
authors, Del Rio, Dupaix, Waldeck, Stephens, Charnay, Ban- 
croft, and Maudsley. IMr. Holmes has drawn a panorama of 
this city with its ruined palaces and temples. 

He says of the pyramids: "There are upward of a dozen 
pyramids of greatly varying style and dimensions, eight only re- 
taining the remains of their superstructures. Some are built 
on level ground and are symmetrical, while others are set against 
the mountain sides. With respect to the stairways by which 
the pyramids were ascended Stephens and others seem to con- 
vey the idea that the temple pyramids had stairs on all sides 
covering the entire surface. As stair builders the Palenquians 
were superior in some respects to the Yucatecs. Some of the 
short flights which lead from the courts to the adjoining galle- 
ries are of speeial interest." 



The defensive structures of America form one of the most 
interesting subjects of study. The correlation of these works 
to the natural surroundings, the different grades of architec- 
ture exhibited in them, the similarity of their forms and char- 
acteristics in the different sections, and their manifest adapta- 
tion to the use intended, make these especially instructive. 
We propose to describe these works in the present chapter, 
but especially in their relation to the ancient village life. 

It would be easier to divide the prehistoric works of the 
continent according to geographical lines, and treat all the 
structures of each section separately, without regard to their use 
or object, but as we have already spoken of this subject in the 
previous chapter, we shall in this, select the one class which 
was devoted to the purposes of defense and confine ourselves 
to it, making the defenses wherever they are found the special 
object of study. 

There are certain general points which are to be consid- 
ered before we proceed to the description of any specific work. 

I. The geographical distribution. It will be understood that 
defensive structures are scattered all over the American Conti- 
nent, and were as prominent here, as in other parts of the 
world. They were, in fact, more common during the prehis- 
toric times, than they are at present; for society was then 
divided into tribes, and tribes into clans. Each tribe occupied 
but a small extent of territorv, and as the tribes were often in 
conflict, it was necessary for them to provide defenses against 
one another. 

There were occasionally confederacies, which covered a 
larger amount of territory, but no confederacy was strong 
enough to keep its own members from occasional conflict. 
What is more, there was so little certainty that either confed- 
eracy or tribe would bring defense to the people, that each vil- 
lage was obliged to protect itself; and so the military was 
identical with the village architecture, or, at least, formed an 
essential part of it. 

The material varied according to the topography, for 
there was always a remarkable correlation between the works 
of the people and their natural surroundings, and the methods 
of their defense varied according to the character of the 
region. The illustrations of this are numerous. Forts, which 
were constructed out of massive earth walls, appear in 


the midst of the rich valleys of the Interior, and are scattered 
over the prairie region. In the hill country, forts were some- 
times constructed of earth, sometimes of stone. In the Gulf 
States pyramids of earth were erected, which served both as 
refuges fjom high water and as defenses for the people. On 
the Great Plateau of the West, the fortresses and fortified 
pueblos were constructed almost altogether of stone, and were 
made to protect a large number of people. In the far South- 
west, stone pyramids were common, and on their summits 
temples and palaces were erected; while the common people 
lived on the level, but gathered about the pyramids and pro- 
tected them from invasion, by their numbers. 

2. The architectural skill which is manifest in the defensive 
works, is, also, an important point, and the one to which we 
shall need to give the most attention. We might naturally 
suppose, that this would be more thoroughly displayed in the 
defenses, than in any other class of structures, as the military 
necessities would involve much outlay of labor and exercise 
much strategic power. Military architecture was always dis- 
tinguished in prehistoric, as well as in historic times, by this 
peculiarity: that it protects people in masses, and not as indi- 
viduals. If society is not collected, it compels a concentration 
at certain points, especially in the time of danger, and then 
makes personal defense a part of the protection given to the 
people. In the prehistoric age this concentration seemed jto 
always prevail, for the residences were mainly in the village 
enclosures, and, if the village defenses were not sufficient, the 
people would fly to some "strong-hold," and there mass their 
forces in protecting themselves from invasion. 

It has been questioned whether any primitive people was 
capable of establishing a separate fortress, and making this 
their refuge in times of danger. This has been disputed in the 
case of the Pueblos and Cliff-Dwellers, and every structure 
which has been regarded as a fortress, has been pronounced by 
certain writers to be merely temporary farming shelters; but 
the facts prove the contrary. There are separate forts which 
were places of refuge for the villagers of the vicinity, both 
among the Mound-Builders and the Cliff-Dwellers, and among 
the tribes of the Southwest. There were, to be sure, various 
devices by which the villages could be warned, and so provide 
for their safety, either by flight or by the rallying of their 
forces and setting up such defenses as they had, or by removal 
to some separate fortress. 

3. Another point to which we shall call attention, will be that 
in the prehistoric times there was no military class, separate 
and distinct from the common people; while there were war- 
riors and war-chiefs and councils of war, and particular rites 
for the initiation of the young men as warriors, yet there was 
no such thing as a standing army, or even a garrison; and the 
equipments for war were always distributed among the people, 
instead of being gathered into an arsenal or kept in some place 


devoted to the purpose. The organization of society was some- 
times on a war basis, but it was seldom permanently so, and 
when it was, it was a matter of volunteering and personal 
choice, rather than of political authority or public constramt. 
There were different grades of society in prehistoric times, and 
the military equipment always increased as the grade advanced; 
but it remained for the historic age to introduce the standing 
army and the permanent equipment for war, as well as the 
prevalence of landed estate. The establishment of military 
schools and the constant training of the youth for war, 
appeared at an early date in history. These came in with civili- 
zation, and were essential features, for the advantages of peace 
were felt to be so great that they must be defended by war. 

The progress of the people may be studied in connection 
with the military works, for a rude people would be likely to 
have a rude method of defense; while a more advanced people 
would have a more elaborate and complicated system. 

4. In reference to the progress of military architecture in 
America, we shall find various illustrations, especially, as we 
pass over the different parts of the continent. This progress, 
also, does not seem to have been made so much in one locality, 
as by the people as a whole. The continent may be divided 
into districts, each one of which presents a style peculiar to 
itself; but one which represents the condition of the people 
who inhabited the district; the fishermen of the Northwest had 
one kind of defense; the hunters of the Northeast, especially 
those situated along the line of the Great Lakes, having 
another; the agricultural people formerly living along the Ohio 
River and the Gulf States, a third; the people who occupied 
the Great Plateau of the West, such as the Cliff-Dwellers and 
Pueblos, had a fourth style; those who were, at the time of the 
Discovery, inhabiting Mexico, a fifth style; those in Yucatan 
and Central America, a sixth, and those who dwelt among the 
mountains of Peru, a seventh; the intermediate stages were 
represented by the people who dwelt on the borders of each of 
these districts. 

5. The most interesting fact, is that there are so many 
analogies between the methods of defense which were common 
in America in prehistoric times and those which were used in 
the historic lands. For the same belts of latitude are not only 
characterized by people in the same grade of culture, but by 
defensive structures which have the same architectural pecu- 
liarities. Those in the north of Europe, in the forests of Brit- 
tany, which have been described by Tacitus and Ccusar, and 
which Cassar took in his campaign, resembled those which were 
found in the forests of New York, and were occupied by the 
famous Iroquois Confederacy; and even the vitrified forts, 
described by Csesar, have their analogies in the ancient earth- 
works of Wisconsin. It is well known that there were towers 
scattered over the shores of the Mediterranean, and that others 
resembling them are §tiU found in Scotland and Great Britain, 


These are supposed to be watch towers, and must be numbered 
among the defenses of ancient times. It is very remarkable, 
that there are towers resembling these, still standing, though 
in ruins, near the ancient cliff dwellings of the deep interior, 
and that there is about as much mystery concerning their use 
and the people who occupied them, as there is about those m ■ 
Sardinia and Phoenicia. 

The walled towns and ancient citadels, which were common 
in Palestine and are mentioned in the Scriptures, have also their 
correlations in America, especially among the tribes which 
formerly dwelt on the Gila m Arizona, and have left behind 
them the remarkable ruined houses and fortresses on nearly 
every high mesa. 

The ancient cities of the East were generally surrounded 
by walls, and contained many terraced pyramids, on the sum- 
mits of which were the palaces and temples, which became so 
celebrated in history. There were cities in Central America, 
in prehistoric times, which resembled these, and even the 
means which were adopted for their defense were remarkably 
similar to those which were common in Oriental countries. 

6. It is to be noticed, that in all primitive society the village 
community is the unit, and is the chief object of defense; but, 
in most cases, the villages constitute the abodes of the clans, 
bnt as the clans are organized into tribes, the defense becomes 
common. For society was here divided into villages, and the 
defense was chiefly for the people, as they were gathered into 
villages, rather than for the people as scattered into separate 
houses, or even as clustered into cities and defended by forts 
which were erected at strategic points. Occasionally there 
were defenses which extended beyond the village and em- 
braced a number of villages, as the combination of clans into 
a tribe rendered it important for the clans to make a common 
cause, and cover their tribal habitat with defenses which wouhl 
protect all the people, and in this respect would resemble the 
defenses which are common in modern days. 

Still, there is a great difference between the defence of a 
nation and that of a tribe, for the first implies the existence of 
landed estate, and is designed to protect the property, as well 
as the people; but with the tribe, the object was to protect the 
tribal territojy, not because it was property, but because it was 
the abode of the people. 

The law of consangumity and the communistic system made 
the village a vary important factor of society, but the law of 
defense made it even more important still. The village was 
the unit, as it contained the gens, just as in modern society, the 
house is the unit, as it contains the family, the gens taking the 
place of the family in the prehistoric age. 

The village was defended rather than the land, the pro- 
vision for defence of the land being found in the defenses of the 
villages. The different members of the clan were, to be sure, 
affiliated, a^d were interested in having a common defense, 



and so a system of tribal defense was established, somewhat 
different and separate from that of the village, but the main 
defense was in the village, the walls or enclosures very rarely 
embracing more than a clan or a phratry, other clans and phra- 
tries being gathered in other enclosures. 

In studying the prehistoric villages of America we have 
found that there were three or four methods of defense among 
them which are especially prominent, and to these methods 
we would call attention in this paper. These methods, it 
appears, were common in all parts of the country, and though 
the structures differ in many other respects, yet the same uses 
are manifest in them, and so the analogies between the differ- 
ent works appear. 

The first method of defense to which we shall call atten- 
tion is that which appears in the extensive system of signal 
and observatory stations which is everywhere manifest. We 
have already called attention to this system in connection with 
an article on the Emblematic Mounds, but we would here 
consider it more especially in its connection with village life, 
and therefore shall take the liberty to repeat a few of the cuts, 
using them to illustrate a new point. The fact is that a system 
of signals existed by which the villages could communicate, and 
among some of the races this system became very elaborate. 
The extent of this signal-system was, of course, dependent 
upon the extent of the tribe or the confederacy to which the 
villages belonged. In some tribes the signal system would 
extend over a whole state; in others it would be limited to the 
valley of a single river and in a few cases to a small river. 
Where confederacies existed, the signal system would extend 
over the whole grounds occupied by the confederacy. 

The study of this signal system, then, should first engage 
our attention ; after that, the provisions made for public de- 
fense in more limited localities, and the characteristics of each 
system. This, then, is the plan according to which we shall 
treat the subject. We shall first consider the signal system 
as it prevailed among all classes of prehistoric people. We 
shall next consider the combination of this system, with that 
of defensive enclosures, and shall also consider the location of 
the enclosures, especially as this location shows evidence of 
defense. The consideration of the village enclosure with the 
provisions made for defense in the very habitations, will form . 
the conclusion of the paper. 

I. Let us then consider the defense which the signal system 
gave to the villages. This system has been studied by others, 
and many things have been brought out which are new and of 
great importance. Here we acknowledge our indebtedness to 


Plate II. 


Col. Garrick Mallery, Dr. W. J. Hoffman, W. H. Holmes, 
and others. We present a few cuts taken from the last report of 
the Ethnological Bureau, which illustrate one method of sig- 
naling a village in the time of danger. 

We call attention to Plate I., as illustrating the habits of 
the present tribes of Indians. Their custom is to station a 
sentinel at some high point where he could overlook the coun- 
try, and where the approach of an enemy could easily be seen. 
By the sign-language the tidings can be given, and alarm be 
spread a great distance. The horsemen had a way of riding 
in a circle, so that they could be seen in all directions, and the 
sign was easily understood. Another method is to build fires 
upon prominent points, so that the smoke could be seen by 
day or the flame by night, and the warning be given in this 

Plate H. illustrates the use of fire in signals. This partic- 
ular cut shows the signal which was given to convey tidings of 
victory, but similar signals were given also as warnings. The 
natives have a method of signaling by fire, which is peculiar 
to themselves. The Dakotas, for instance, mix their combus- 
tibles so as to cause different shades of smoke; using dried 
grass for the lightest, and pine leaves for the darkest, and a 
mixture for intermediate shades. These with their manner of 
covering a fire with their blankets, so as to cause puffs of 
smoke, or of leaving the smoke to rise in unbroken columns, 
gave to them a variety of signals. Sometimes a bunch of 
grass was tied to an arrow and lighted, and shot into the air.* 
.The tribes of the south-west signal by this means. The Az- 
tecs signaled to each other by fire during the siege of the City 
o/ Mexico. 

There are many signals among the tribes which are used in 
case of victory, and others for hunting purposes, and still 
others for purposes of recognition, but those for defense are 
the most important. We give a cut illustrating the method 
by which the natives now make signs to one another for the 
purpose of recognition (see Plate HI.) The same custom of 
stationing sentinels on prominent points as look-out stations, 
has been long prevalent. Circles of stones are often found 
upon elevated points of land, where a good view of the sur- 
rounding country can be obtained. These circles are common 
upon the Upper Missouri, among the Dakotas in Arizona, 
among the Hualpai, among the Pah Utes of Nevada, in the 
Sho-Shonee county, in Wyoming, and in many other places of 
the far west. P'requently the ground around these watch sta- 
tions is literally covered with flint chippings, as it was the 

*See reports W. Hoffman, U. S. Geological Survey for 1877, page 474. 


Plate III. 


custom of the sentinels to spend their time in making bows 
and arrows while watching. 

This signal system still prevails. It is more prevalent in 
an open country like the plateau of the west, and yet it prob- 
ably prevailed in ancient times, in the region east of the moun- 
tains. Traces of it are seen among the Moundbuilders. 

2, This leads us to a consideration of the signal system of 
the Moundbuilders. We have already referred to this, and 
have given cuts illustrating it.* The system prevailed among 
the Moundbuilders throughout the entire valley of the Missis- 
sippi, and observatory mounds are very common. They are 
to be distinguished, however, from another class, as this class 
was used for the purposes of defense, while another was used 
for the purpose of watching game. 

The distinguishing points of the observatories designed for 
village defense are as follows: 

(i) The signal station designed for defense is generally a 
mound located on a prominent point, in close proximity to 
an enclosure, and is so connected with other observatories 
that signals can be easily exchanged. On the other hand the 
outlook for a game-drive may have a more extensive pros- 
pect, but takes in the wide range of country without regard 
to the strategic points. To illustrate; the single isolated 
mound, called the Henderson mound, near Beloit, Wis., t com- 
mands an extensive view in every direction, and just such a 
view as would be fitted for the discovery of buffalo herds, as 
they might come over distant hills and approach the river, the 
prairies offering no barrier to the sight. On the other hand 
the village enclosure at Aztalan, forty miles to the northward, 
on a branch of the same river, the Crawfish, has observatories 
or lookouts on all the hills surrounding. 

Situated in the midst of the amphitheater of hills, this an- 
cient capital was well defended. A cordon of signal stations 
surrounded it, while the lofty truncated pyramid in the enclos- 
ure commanded a view of every point. The signal stations on 
the hills commanded other views at a great distance, so that no 
enemy could come within miles of the spot without being 
seen. A similar system of outlooks may be seen surround- 
ing the ancient capital at Newark, which was similarly situ- 
ated in the midst of a natural amphitheater, and the observa- 
tories were located on the hills surrounding. It has been stated 
also that observatory mounds are located on all the hills in this 
region, forming lines between this center and other prominent 
though distant points. A line has been partially traced from 

♦See Amebican Antiquarian, Vol. III., No. 2. 

ISee Article on Moundbuilders, in American Antiquarian, Vol. II., No. 3, also Vol. 
ni., No. 2. 



Plate IV. 


Mt. Vernon to Newark, the large mound in the cemetery at 
Mt. Vernon being one of the series. 

(2.) The combination of signal stations or observatories with 
beacons is evidence of a village defense. There are traces 
of fires on many of the lookout mounds. Many of the sup- 
posed beacons may indeed have been burial places, and it 
would appear as if the burial mounds were sometimes used as 
watch stations, or as beacons. We give here a map of the 
mounds at Muscatine to illustrate this point. It will be seen 
from this that the beacons were located all along the banks of 
the river, making a complete cordon of signal stations. Many 
of the mounds on this map have been opened and prove to be 
burial mounds, but their location on the bluffs surrounding the 
ancient lake illustrates not only the use of burial mounds for 
beacons or signals, but also shows how prominently situated 
the villages were. 

(3.) Another peculiarity of the observatories for defense is, 
that they are some times placed upon very high points, and 
command the view of other points at a great distance. This 
idea is given by Dr. Lapham, in connection with Lapham's 
Peak, a high knoll in Washington county, which commands a 
very extensive prospect for miles in every direction. Dr. J. 
W. Phene, in his visit to this country recognized the same in 
connection with the great serpent mound in Adams county, 
Ohio. He states that this work is located on an eminence, 
from which a view can be had of Lookout mountain, in Han- 
cock county, twenty miles away. The same has been observed 
by the author in connection with the works at Circleville. The 
great mound at Circleville was sixty feet high, and commanded 
a view of Lookout mountain, twelve miles to the south of 
it. On this mountain an observatory was located which com- 
manded a view of the works at Hopeton, situated just below, 
and the works at Chillicothe, twenty miles to the south of it. 
It is maintained by E. G. Squiers, that such a series of lofty 
observatories extend across the whole States of Ohio, of Indi- 
ana and Illinois, the Grave creek mound on the east, the 
great raound at Cahokia on the west, and the works in Ohio 
filling up the line. Other persons who have made a study of 
the works along the Ohio river, maintain that there is a series 
of signal stations running up the branches of the rivers, such 
as the Scioto, the Great and Little Miami, the Wabash, and 
other rivers, and that all the prominent works through Ohio 
and Indiana are connected by a line of observatories. This 
net-work of signal stations is interesting if studied in con- 
nection with the village enclosures ; as there are many scat- 
tered throughout this whole region. 


Beacon fires were frequently lighted on the walls of the 
defensive enclosures, and man)' elevated points within village 
enclosures were also used for the purpose of signaling distant 
places, so that we cannot confine the signal system to mounds 
or to isolated stations, though as a general rule the signal sys- 
tem was outside and supplementary to the village enclosure. 

We would refer here to the fact that in the ancient fortifica- 
tion at Bourneville, O., there was a rock)- summit which over- 
looked a great valley below, on which traces of beacon fires 
have been discovered, and that upon the walls of the enclosure 
at Fort Ancient traces of fire have also been discovered. 

On the other hand there are many villages where the loca- 
tion of some lofty point near by would give great opportunity 
tor exchanging signals either by fire or smoke for great distances. 
Many such points are seen in dii'ferent parts of the country. 

Messrs Squiers and Davis mention the fact that between 
Chillicothe and Columbus, in Ohio, not far from twenty of 
these points can be selected, the stations so placed in reference 
to each other that it is believed that signals of fire might be 
transmitted in a few minutes. 

On a hill opposite Chillicothe, nearly 6oo feet in height, the 
loftiest in the entire region, one of these signal mounds is 
placed. A fire built upon this would be distinctly visible for 
fifteen oi" tweiit)' miles up, and an equal distance down the val- 
ley of the Scioto, including in its range the Circleville works, 
twenty miles distant, as also for a long way up the broad val- 
le)s of the two Paint Creeks, both of which abound in the 
remains of ancient villages. In the map of the Miami valley 
a similar position may be observed, and similar mounds occur 
along the Wabash, the Illinois, and the upper Mississippi, show- 
ing how extensive this signal system was, at the same time 
showing how intimately connected it was with village resi- 

Rev. J. T. McLean has traced a line of signal mounds from 
Fort Ancient to the Miami River, and the writer has discovered 
that the great Miami Mound was so placed that signal fires 
could be seen for many miles up the Miami River in both 
directions, and connected the villages scattered along the dif- 
ferent rivers to the east with others far to the west. He has 
also traced signal stations scattered along the bluffs of the 
Mississippi River from the city of St. Paul' to St. Louis, and 
found that there were sometimes double and triple lines v\hich 
connected these with others in the interior and that e\ery high 
point was furnished with signal stations. Others have traced 
a similar system extending up the Missouri River, so that we 
may conclude that there was a network of ttiese stations on 
which beacon fires could be lighted all over the Mississippi 
valley; though it is probable that they were used by different 
tribes, and that each tribe and each confederacy resorted to 
the same means for defense. 


Along with these signal stations there was another class 
of ancient defenses, — a class which consisted of a combination 
of signal stations and fortified enclosures. There were several 
classes of enclosures. We shall only mention three varieties: 

(i) The enclosures which were used b)' the warlike tribes, 
which were situated along the chain of the Great Lakes, 
through the state of Ohio into New York State. These have 
been described by various explorers and archaeologists Mr. 
E. G. Squiers has described those in the state of New York; 
Col. Charles Whittelsey has described those along the northern 
part of the state of Ohio, at Conneaut, Ashtabula, Painesville, 
and on the Sandusky River. The writer has visited the same 
localities and can testify to the correctness of the statements. 
Dr. Hill of Ashland, Ohio, has discovered forts within sight of 


one another, through the whole length of Cuyahoga River, 
situated on tongues of land which would give distant views. 

(2) There was a class of hill forts scattered over the 
region on either side of the Ohio River, which were probably 
occupied by different tribes; some of them were undoubtedly 
places of last resort for the people who dwelt in the villages, 
and served as defense'^ for the numerous villages scattered 
along the valleys There were hill forts also as far south as 
Tennessee and Kentucky. Some of them were constructed 
out of stone, others had earth walls; but all were furnished 
with signal stations, as well as with walls and gateways. 

(3) There were fortified enclosures along the Cumberland 
and Tennessee Rivers which were occupied by the Stone Grave 
people. They were furnished with extensive earth walls, and 


possibly stockades were erected. The signal station was con- 
nected with them, but the burial places were within tht en- 
closures. Stone forts were found also in the Gulf States, some 
of them upon the mountains. 

The next method of defense was that secured by the 
erection of timber stockades, generally upon the hill tops. 
This was the method employed by the Iroquois, as well as by 
the various tribes situated along the Atlantic coast. Champlain 
found one of these stockade forts near the banks of the St. 
Lawrence, and had his first encounter with the Iroquois near it. 
Another stockade fort was situated on the southern part of 
Lake Champlain, near Ticonderoga. Here the Indians gath- 
ered with their boats constructed out of bark, but the French 
had boats of a superior style; the Indians were frightened at 
the discharge of fire arms and so were defeated. There were 
many such forts scattered through the state of New York. 
Champlain found the Iroquois entrenched in such a stockade 
fort at Onondaga. This fort was provided with platforms on 
the inside, on which the defenders stood. There was a stream 
of water on the outside which protected the fort from fire, and 
also repulsed the assailants. Champlain constructed an ele- 
vated platform, resembling those common in medieval times, 
and placed men armed with cross bows and fire arms on the 
platfofm, and was thus able to dislodge the Indians. Stock- 
ade forts like this were found by Cartier at Hochelaga, near 
Mantreal. It was near one of these stockade enclosures] at 
Mouvilla that De Soto experienced his first defeat. 

The villages in Florida were surrounded by stockades. The 
houses were constructed in about the same way; the timbers 
were set upright, making a circle, and were covered with a 
conical roof, which was thatched. There were, however, vil- 
lages along the Atlantic coast and in New England which had 
no stockades. 

The picture given on the following page represents the people 
which Verazzano, the early navigator, found dwelling on the 
coast of New England. There is no stockade in sight, but 
the people were dwelling under booths, surrounded by wild 
animals. There are other pictures of the same region, which 
represent the stockade as numerous. In the picture we see the 
various habits of these natives and their costumes; we also see 
the kind of boats with which they navigated the sea. Verazzano 
is supposed to have sailed along the south side of Long Island 
and may have reached Cape Cod, and possibly Newfoundland 
and the islands, for Basque vessels may be seen in the picture. 
The picture is interesting because it is the first view gained of 
this section. 

Another method of defense was by means of pyramids, 
which were terraced upon the sides and had a platform on the 
top. This was a plan adopted by the tribes in the Gulf States 
and all the civilized tribes of Mexico and Central America. 


The pj'ramids at Cahokia marked the site opposite St. Louis 
of a large Indian \ illage, but there was no fort and no wall 
around the village. The only defense was found in the pyra- 
mids, on which the people might gather and repel the attack 
of any invading foe. 

There were similar pyramids scattered through the Gulf 
States, and it seems probable that they marked the sites of 
ancient villages. The pyramids combined a lookout station, 
with a safe dwelling place, and enabled the ruling classes to 
live separate from the common people. In this respect the 
villages resembled the villages of Central America. 

It is to be noticed that terraced pyramids were about the 
only defenses that the civilized tribes possessed. At least very 




few vvalled towns have been discovered, but nearly all the 
cities were marked by groups of pyramids on which the palaces 
were erected. The best illustration of the advantages secured 
by a terraced pyramid is found among the Pueblos of the far 
We^t. In Mexico and Central America the pyramids were 
constructed out of stone. 

II. The most interesting method of defense was that which 
came from the combination of religious and mechanical 
contrivances. This has not been fully appreciated, but the 
more one studies the prehistoric woiks, the more examples he 
will find. A good illustration of this may be seen at Fort 
Ancient, Ohio. 


Explanation of the Cut.— The unshaded lines represent the walls, the shaded lines 
the bluflf, the dark lines the ditches inside of the walls. The parallel Unes "supplemen- 
tary" properly should extend from the mounds at d to the comer of the page, represent- 
mg a north-east direction. The serpent symbol begins between "embankments and 
mounds," and extends around the lower enclosure. 


(i.) In the first place, its situation is on the top of a pro- 
montory, defended by two ravines, which sweep around it to 
either side, forming precipitous banks, in some places 200 feet 
high. The ravines are occupied by small streams, with the 
Miami river close by, below the works on the west side. The 
wall of the fort is built on the very verge of the bluffs, over- 
looking the ravines meandering around the spot, and reentering 
to pass the heads of the gullies, and is itself very circuitous. 

The embankment in several places is carried down into ra- 
vines at an angle of 30 degrees, from fifty to one hundred feet 
in length, guarding the sides of the ravines and then crossing 
the streamlet at the bottom. The embankments may still be 
traced to within seven or eight feet of the stream. 

(2.) On the verge of the bluff, overlooking the river, there 
are three parallel terraces. It has been suggested that these 
were designed as stations, from which to annoy an enemy 
passing in boats along the river. 

(3.) At all the more accessible points, the defenses are of 
the greatesj: solidity and strength. The average height of the 
embankment is between nine and ten feet. In places, how- 
ever, it is no less than twenty feet. At the spot where the 
State road ascends the hill and where the decline is most 
gentle, the embankment is fourteen feet high and sixty feet 
base. Near this point, at a place where a stream makes an 
opening in the wall is a crescent embankment which is so built 
as to protect the opening, and make a barrier against approach. 
The wall about the large enclosure is perfctly level on the top, 
and is from six to eight feet in width, the angles and sides 
being peculiarly well formed and clean cut, giving to the whole 
structure the appearance of great finish and of much skill. There 
are over seventy gateways or openings in the embankment, 
which were originally about eight or ten feet in width. The 
object of so many gateways is unknown, but it is supposed 
that they were once occupied by block houses or bastions, com- 
posed of timber which has long since decayed. There is no 
continuous ditch, but the earth had been dug from convenient 
pits, which are still quite deep and filled with water. These 
are on the inside of the wall. The wall is composed of tough 
clay, without stones, except in a few places, but is remarkably 
well preserved. The slope of the wall is from 35 to 45 degrees, 
but in the lower part of the Peninsula the wall conforms closely 
to the shape of the land. 

(4.) There are two grand divisions to the fort, connected 
-with one another by a long and narrow passage, the wall be- 
tween the two enclosures being nearly parallel, but conform to 
the shape of the ground; across this narrow neck there is car- 


ried a wall, as if to prevent the further progress of an enemy 
if either of the principal enclosures were carried. Two large 
mounds are also built at the narrowest points, and between 
them was a paved way, as if some special arrangement for a 
gateway or entrance had once existed. The combination of the 
signal system with the fortified enclosure are manifest on all 
four sides, i. c, on the northeast side, with the two mounds in 
the covered way ; on the northwest side, in the walls them- 
selves ; in the southwest side, by terraces and by the walls 
which here command an extensive view ; and in the southeast 
side, by a mound. This mound was erected at the extreme 
southeast point of the inclosure, as if for a lookout station on 
that side. 

(5.) Abundant provision was made for the supply of water. 
The ditches, on the inside of the walls, would always contain 
more or less surface water. The springs in the enclosure 
would furnish a continual supply. 

(6.) The author thinks that he has recognized in the shape 
of the wall, especially of the walls which surround the smaller 
inclosure, the form of a serpent. These walls are certainly 
serpentine in their course, and are so conformed to the roll of 
land, that their form gives rise to the conception. This may 
be merely accidental and not intended to embod}' the serpent 
symbol, but it is remarkable that the resemblance should have 
struck the eyes plainly at the very first visit to the place. 

3. The Pueblos had the same system of defense which 
we have referred to, consisting of the combination of an enclos- 
ure with a lookout station. The combined system is here also 
connected with the village residences. This system helps us 
to understand many of the structures which were prominent 
among the cliff dwellers. There are watch-towers associated 
with the cliff" dwellings which illustrate the point. These tow- 
ers are generally situated on the summit of the cliff" above the 
dwellings. They are described as having extensive outlooks, 
and yet they are so connected with the dwellings that communi- 
cation could not be cut off". It has been supposed that these 
towers were estufas, and that they were used for religious pur- 
poses. If this were the case, then it is only another instance 
where the military and religious uses were combined in the 
same structure. The analogies between the Moundbuilders' 
works and the Cliff"-dwellers, in this respect, are quite striking. 
To see this, we have only to compare the mound and circular 
inclosure at the end of the curved way at Fort Ancient with 
the circular tower above the cliff" in the ruins in the Montezuma 
Canon (see the cut, fig. i, on next page). 


There are other towers among the cHfif-dwelHng.s which 
served as^ look-out stations or observatories. Two such towns 
have been described by W. H. Holmes.* These were situated 
on the Mesa above the cliff, a portion of the towers being 
left open on the cliff side. The towns were placed immedi- 
ately above the caves which were excavated in the cliff- wall, 
and which were probably used as dwelling-places, while the 
towns served as fortresses, look-out stations, council cham- 

Total lenffth 94 feet °^'^'''^^''^^'^Vt^^jl(f({^^i\\\l''; 


a y a 




Upon an isolated mesa 60 xl30 feet 
In diameter and 40 feet in tieight- 


^t / I iV Vrrrr 


Walls much 
broken down 

bers and places of worship. Being on the borders of the 
Mesa, the strong outside walls were found necessary to pro- 
tect against incursions from that direction. A square tower 
on the McElmo illustrates the same point. This building 
surmounts a rocky pedestal, and covers the whole surface 
of the rock. The windows open toward the north and east, 
directions from which the enemy, according to tradition, 
came. Another on Epsom creek, , similarly situated, illus- 
trates the same point. These towers are all close by the 
residences of the cliff-dwellers, and show that they not only 
depend upon the lofty isolation of their dwellings, which were 
perched i ,000 feet high on the side of the cliff, but also on the 
signal system, which would give them tidings of the approach 
of an enemy. 

III. We come now to consider the most common method 
of defense known to the prehistoric race of America. This 
consisted in the combination of natural defense, with the works 
of architecture, the architecture being only supplementary to 
the defense of nature. It is a singular fact that the prehistoric 
races never attained to the modern method of defending ordi- 

*See cut in American Antiquarian, Vol. IV., No. 3. 


dcsce/uliruj ' 
to Creek. b\ ' 

■TrorrLbtoe -IZOi't 

Plate VII. 


nary places by military works, but they always chose strong 
points of nature and erected their military works upon them. 
There are, to be sure, many villages located in agricultural 
plains, which are protected by walls and enclosures; but the real 
defenses of the same people are generally found in the vicinity in 
the shape of strongholds, and the supposition is that the re- 
sort was to them in cases of extremity. The village inclos- 
ureshave already been referred to, and their location with a 
view to agricultural advantages there spoken of. We are now 
treating of village defenses as such, and not village inclosures. 
This method of taking advantage of the locality and adding 
to it an artificial defense was common with all the races. We 
see it among the Indians of the Atlantic coast, as their stock- 
ades were always on bluffs or islands, which were naturally 
impregnable. We see it also among the Moundbuilders, as 
their forts, so called, are always well located for defense. We 
see it also among the Pueblos and Cliff-dwellers, and even 
- among the civilized races of Mexico. We would call attention 
here to the ancient Mexicans, for the idea is common, that 
they had attained to almost a modern skill in defense, and to 
modern methods of warfare. The history of the City of Mex- 
ico is remarkable, and illustrates this point ; the history shows 
that the Aztecs were originally a weak tribe, but that they 
gained their superiority by the advantages of their location as 
a means of defense. They were crowded from the shores of 
the lake by neighboring tribes. They dug trenches and opened 
channels through the ground which they occupied, surround- 
ing it by water, turning the channel of the streams which came 
into the lake, for this purpose ; they made a long causeway, 
which connected the island with the mainland, leaving an occa- 
sional slough, covered by bridges, which were capable of quick 
removal; they divided their city into four quarters ; erected 
their immense teocalli in the center, and then from this posi- 
tion they made their raids on the neighboring tribes. Their 
superiority consisted not in their valor, nor in their military 
organization, nor in their generalship, but in the invulnerable 
position of their capital. Montezuma did not prove to be a 
hero nor a warrior when the Spaniards came, and there is no 
evidence that he ever had great military skill. Human sacri- 
fices and the custom of taking captives in war, made his peo- 
ple dread and fear him. There were many others more ad- 
vanced in skill and culture than the Mexicans. 

The defenses of the Mexicans outside of their city, were 
generally of the same character as those of other native races. 
They combined the advantage of natural location with artificial 
works. Even their far-famed towers, such as the pyramids of 


Cholula, at Xochicalco, were of this character. They com- 
bined with the advantage of nature the additions of architec- 
ture and were used as places of defense. There were also the 
additional features to these pyramids, that they were regarded 
as places of worship, and were at the same time immense out- 
looks or observation. 

The hill of flowers, or Xochicalco, is mentioned as a wonder- 
ful structure, and as giving evidence of the marvelous advance 
of the Mexicans in architecture and military skill. The idea 
is not common that these pyramids were designed for defense, 
but the combination of an outlook with an elevated, isolated 
position, gives to us a thought. It is possible that these were 
really fortifications, but fortifications built on the same plan as 
the Pueblo of New Mexico, the elevation of the pyramid giv- 
ing the special advantage for defense. It is after all a some- 
what cowardly method of defense, but one that corresponds 
with the character of the people. Retreat to the summit of 
the platform, like retreat to the cliff-dwellers, might secure 
safety for the time, but did not rid the country of an enemy. 
In the last extremity, a modern, civilized people would re- 
sort to it, but with the strange mode of warfare, prevalent 
among the native races, it was a common method. The sud- 
den raids and fierce onsets, which resulted in immediate victory 
or entire defeat, would under this mode of defense, be almost 
a necessity. There was no organized or disciplined army, 
such as exists among other civilized races. There was really 
no military or strategic skill among them. Their fighting was 
like that of a mob. Vast numbers were massed together, but 
they crowded upon one another, and no military movements 
and no generalship existed among them. 

Rapid mobilization was the peculiarity of the army, great 
forces without trains, or with trains carrying the simplest 
equipments were common. War was conducted by sudden 
forays or raids, but no regular campaigns. Deeds of valor on 
the battle field were common, but there was no skill in retreat. 
Rapid pursuit followed defeat. The vanquished fled to the 
Pueblo, and the question was, which would reach the Pueblo 

In general, the conception of the tribes of Mexico in forti- 
fying any particular place, amounted to raising it above the 
surrounding level and crowning the area with a parapet of 
stone or wood. As a principal means of protection they re- 
sorted to elevation. In some cases several tiers of parapets 
covered one side of the mountain declivity. The dwellings of 
the people rested on the highest terrace, but the huts of the 
warriors were erected on the outermost defenses. 


There was also, in connection with this method of defense, 
the reUgious idea. The teocalH were both temples and towers 
of defense. " The great majority of the Indian towns of Mex- 
ico were open places without circumvallations or enclosures, 
and without any other strong holds than their massive commu- 
nal dwelling and their pyramidal temples or teocalli.t" Added 
to these defensive means of their architecture, the recourses of 
a strong, natural position were sought for, and those tribes 
proved to be most powerful, which secured the strongest po- 

We find the most singular illustration of this method of 
defense, however, among the Cliff-dwellers, and to these we 
would call especial attention. The Pueblos and the Cliff- 
dwellers owed their security to the same methods of defense. 
The positions which the villagers secured were of three kinds: 
(i) The cliffs. (2) High precipitous ridges. (3) The Mesas, 
which were somewhat isolated and surrounded by valleys. 
There were locations on the Mesas, where several villages could 
be grouped, and in these one Pueblo would aid another. The 
least defensible were those in the valleys or plains where there 
were no opportunities of outlook and no protection from 

It is a tradition that the Cliff-dwellers dwelt originally in 
villages like other Pueblos, but the incursions of fierce tribes 
like the Arapahoes and the Comanches, drove them from their 
original seats. They fled to the fastnesses of the cliffs, and 
there made homes for themselves, until driven out by starva- 
tion,' as their enemy kept them in a continual siege, occupying 
the valleys below for entire seasons, and compelling the in- 
habitants of the cliff to flee over the mesas to distant places. 
This is rendered plausible by the resemblance of many of the 
cliff-dwellings to the Pueblos. The village system of architec- 
ture is manifest here, with the same features as among the ter- 
raced buildings elsewhere, with the exception of the terraces. 
The communistic system at least, prevailed here. 

a. The arrangement of the rooms shows this. These are 
crowded close together into the shelter of the caves, and are 
divided by walls, the compartments being wherever it is pos- 
sible, two storied, and the most of them without any open- 
ing for entrance except from the top, the wall being scaled by 
ladders, as in the case of the Pueblos (see Plate VII. , figs, i & 2.) 

b. The size and shape of the rooms (Fig i — k, I, in), is an- 
other indication. The rooms in the Pueblos, are generally Qx 
20, and 9 feet high ; those of the Cliff-dwellers are much 
smaller, some of them not over 6 x 8 in size. They are gener- 
ally square, and erected with flat stone, the material being 
taken from the sides of the cliff. 


Plate VIII. 

A front view of the Clifif-dwellers' village given in Plate VII. 
is shown in Plate VIII. It is described as situated 800 feet 
above the river, and so hidden away in the dark recesses, and 
so very like the surrounding cliffs in color that it was difficult 
to detect it. The lower house was accessible by the sloping 
cliff, but the upper store houses could onl}' be reached by a 
passage up the cliff near one end at the point marked a in the 
ground plan. It shows how thoroughly protected these 
dwellings were. 


^- - --- ' ... . -^rr— >,';> 


c. Inhere are many spaces among the cliff-dwellings which 
resemble the open court or Plaza, showing that the play- 
ground and the place of social resort was sought for by them, 

and, where it was possible, secured. 
The houses were erected on the edges 
of the rock, with the open space 
within, between the houses and sides 
of the chff. (Fig. I, e, Plate VII.) 
d. The presence of Estufas is an- 
other point. (Fig. I, round room). 
The circular enclosures, found amid 
the square rooms of these high- 
perched villages show how essential 
the estufa was to village residence. 
If estufas could not be built on the 
level with the dwellings, they were 
placed just above on the edge of the 
cliff above, but closely connected with 

the village. 

e. The store-houses (Fig. 2 — also Fig. 3, ^), found among 
the cliff-dwellings show that the communistic system prevailed 
here. Apartments in which have been found remains of corn 
and other products, are common. These apartments are, 
some of them, too small for residence, but would answer for 
store-houses, corresponding to the lower rooms in the Pueb- 
los. The defense of these villages was in the situation. Mr. 
W. H. Jackson, who first discovered them and furnished an 
account of them, describes them as perched so high and hid- 
den away so securely, as to be almost invisible to the naked 
eye, requiring strong telescopes to make out their outlines. 
Some of them were, at least, 1,000 feet above the valley, and 
were reached by the most difficult climbing of the precipitous 
sides of the cliff. Steps were hewn in the sides of the rock in 
places, but in other places, the dwellings could only be ap- 
proached by ladders. Isolated dwellings are found among the 
cliffs, but generally the village was as compact as that of the 
Pueblos. The defense was in the height of the cliff and in the 
strength of the wall erected on the edge. We give cuts to re- 
present the peculiarities of the cliff-dwellings. The size and 
shape of the apartments may be seen from the cuts. 

A method of walling up cave fronts is described by W. H. 
Holmes. Cuts of two of them are given here, as they illus- 
trate better than any description (fig. i and fig. 5). The 
three doorways open into as many small apartments, and 
these are connected by small passage ways (see fig. i). 


Fig. 5 also illustrates the same point, and shows how the 
villages were provided with the estufa when there was not 
a possibility of having the two on the same level. The cut 
illustrates how the estufas were protected by the walls even in 
those places where no more than one apartment was erected 
in the same niche. Figure i, Plate VII., illustrates the combi- 
nation of the estufa with the dwelling apartments and store- 
houses and play grounds, or places of assembly. A wall and 
covered passageway, f f, of solid masonry leads from the outer 
chamber to the estufa. This passageway is but twenty-two 
inches high and thirty wide, by twenty feet long, and was cal- 
culated to prevent intrusion from the profane, as any one who 
entered it must crawl in the most abject manner possible to 
the rooms in the upper 
shelter. Fig. 2, shows 
how the storing of pro- 
visions was also connected 
with the apartments for 
dwelling. In this case the 
store-rooms are above in- 
stead of below the dwell- 
ing apartments. The clifif 
projects fifteen or twenty 
feet beyond the house, 
protecting both the upper 
and lower apartments. A 
stairway of small niches 
cut in the rock connected 
the two. The sloping bluff 
gave access to the water 
below. The position of 
the ruin is one of incom- 
parable security both from 
enemies and the elements. 

A similar village, but on a small scale, is seen in the Ruin 
upon the San Juan river. The ground plan in the figure 
shows the analogy between the Cliff-dwellers' village and the 
Pueblos (see cut). The site of this village can hardly have been 
chosen for its defensive advantages, as it is situated below the 
cliffs on the bank of the river. It would probably come under 
the head of an agricultural village rather than a Cliff-dwellers' 
defense, but is referred to, to show the analogy. 

The description of this ruin is given by W. H. Jackson.* 

"Upon the top of a bench about fifty feet above the river, 
but underneath the bluff, are the ruins of a quadrangular 

*SeP Report in United States Geological Survey of the Territories, F. V. Hayden in 
charge, for 1875. 


Structure of peculiar design. It is arranged at right angles to 
the river. In the center of the building, looking out upon the 
river, is an open space 75 feet wide and 40 feet in depth. We 
judged it to have been an open court, because there was not 
the vestige of a wall in front. Back of this court is a series of 
seven apartments, arranged around a semi-circular space which 
is 45 feet across its greatest diameter, each one being i 5 feet 
in length and the same in width. On the sides of these were 
other apartments averaging 40 and 45 feet square. Extreme 

massiveness characterized the whole structure." 


.\M' iiiiiirdmuii "III,,, 

^^^nlltlUl|nll^U'lU/«//^ 5, 






J XllHlH*""'""""""""""""""''''^ 

The clifif-dwellings are not the only ones which have their 
position in strong points for defense. The Pueblos of New 
Mexico are also noted for this. Dr. Oscar Loew has described 
the ruins of two Pueblos, in the province of Jemez. They 
are situated upon a narrow ridge or mesa, which is nearly 750 
feet high, and nearly perpendicular. Upon this ridge, near 
frightful precipices, are the ruins of eighty houses, partly in 
parallel rows, partly in squares, and partly perched between 
the over-hanging rocks, the rims and surfaces of which 
formed the walls of the rooms. Nearly every house had one 
story and two rooms. The village was only approachable by 
two narrow, steep trails. The view from the mesa is pictur- 
esque and imposing in the extreme. 

In the province of Aztlan, are ruins of former fortified 
towns. Some of the fortified structures had as many as 500 
rooms in them. Prof. E. D. Cope has called attention to a 
village of thirty houses, extending along the narrow crest of a 
hog-back or ridge, in Northwestern New Mexico. One town 
he calls Cristine. He says that they were doubtless perched on 
these high eminences for defense, but they were conveniently 


located near a perennial stream, which enabled them to carry on 
a system of agriculture. He says also that the number of 
buildings in a square mile of the region is equal to, if not 
greater, than the number now existing in the most densely 
populated rural districts of Pennsylvania or New Jersey. The- 
inhabitants of the rock houses necessarily abandoned the com- 
munal type of building, and considered only the capacity of 
their buildings for defense. Mr. Cope also mentions other 
buildings erected on the summits of knots of land, or circu- 
lar conic hills. These are only fifteen to twenty feet in diame- 
ter, were probably either a lookout station or towers con- 
nected with other buildings which are in ruins. Dr. Yarrow 
has described the ruins of an ancient village, in the valley of 
the Rio Chaca, and mentions six or eight other towns in the 
vicinity which, together, would contain a population of two or 
three thousand. The mesa is 250 feet above the level. The 
front of it is a sheer precipice, allowing no ingress to the town, 
capable of being defended against thousands, by a dozen reso- 
lute men, with no better weapons than rocks and stones. 

3d. The seven cities of Cibola have been described by 
many. Col. Simpson, who was the first person who visited 
the region and discovered the remarkable ruins of the build- 
ings of the Pueblos, considers that these cities were identical 
with the Pueblo of the Zunis. This has been disputed, but the 
descriptions help us to understand the nature of the defenses. 
The number, seven, has been used to prove the identity, but 
there are several localities where seven villages may be found 
in close proximity. Dr. Loew says that the seven villages be- 
long to Tehue, the same number existed among the Moquis. 
There is no doubt that the Spaniards, in their march under 
Coronado, in 1541, found many fortified towns. In fact, the 
villages in all the canons of this section, the San Juan, Las 
Animas Jemez, Canon Chaco, Rio Mancos, and others, have 
fortified Pueblos, and give evidence of having been densely 
populated. The description given by the historians of that 
early date is valuable, because it will apply to nearly all the 
Pueblos of the region. It may be interesting to identify the 
exact spot, but the villages are very similar in their character- 
istics, the main difference being in their adaptation to the par- 
ticular spot in which they are located. The defense is mainly 
in the situation. 

IV. We take up briefly before we close this paper one 
other method of defending their villages used by the prehis- 
toric inhabitants, namely, that offered by the religious system 
prevalent. This part of our subject requires a separate chap- 
ter, but we shall refer to it here, especially as it is so closely 


connected with the defensive structures, and cannot be under- 
stood except as it is associated both with village residences 
and village defense. 

The combination of the religious with the military system 
has not been sufficiently studied to be understood, but the 
specimens given are worthy of consideration. It seems to have 
prevailed among the Moundbuilders more than any where else. 
It also existed among the Pueblos or the Mexicans. The His- 
tory of the Conquest of Mexico reveal the fact that the relig- 
ious element was there mingled with the defense of the people. 
The resort of the people was to the temples, and the great 
Sun-God was appealed to for protection. It was with great 
amazement that the people saw the idols of their divinities 
thrust down from their height, and when the idea at last seized 
upon them, that both the power of their rulers and the protec- 
tion of their gods had been withdrawn, the result was that 
despair spread throughout the nation, and their destruction 
became complete. 

(i) This point is also worthy of special notice in connec- 
tion with observatories. There are a few very remarkable 
works throughout Ohio, which bear the character of effigy 
mounds. We refer to the Alligator mound at Newark, and 
the great Serpent in Adams county. It appears that the Alli- 
gator mound in Newark overlooked the extensive system of 
village enclosures, and that its position also made it a promi- 
nent object for the whole region about. There are signs also 
of an altar near the Alligator, where fire was evidently kept 
alive. The same thing has been noticed by the author in con- 
nection with effigy mounds. One such case may be seen on 
the east side of Lake Wingra, near Madison, Wis. All of these 
sacrificial places are on high points, and seem to partake of the 
nature of observatories as well as sacrificial altars. 

We give a cut of the Alligator Mound to illustrate this 
point. The mound is situated on a hill which overlooks the 
whole valley where the ancient village at Newark is situated. 
There are signal mounds on all the hills surrounding the val- 
ley, and the extensive works are situated in the valley below. 
The impression given by a visit to this lofty spot where the 
effigy is seen is, that here the great Divinity of the people 
resided, and here the beacon fires were lighted which would 
illuminate the whole horizon. On this spot the sacrifices 
would be offered. But the idea of defense may prove as 
prominent as that of worship, for the monster certainly over- 
looked the whole scene, and it is more than probable that it 
was regarded as the great Guardian Divinity of the place. 


These sacrificial mounds may not have been observatories, 
in a strict sense of the word, for they seem to have had a re- 
Hgious object rather than a military. We refer to them here, 
however, for they give evidence that the religious element was 
mingled with the idea of defense. This we believe to have 
been one object, for the location of the sacrificial mounds, and 
especially the shape of the animal effigy, would indicate that 
a divinity was thus embodied, and that the idea was prevalent 
among the people that the guardian spirit was in the effigy 
and haunted the locality. The Animism which prevailed 


among the people would lead them to associate the two ideas, 
the Tutelar divinity being both an object of worship and a pro- 
tecting power, the sacrifice appeasing it, and the effigy symbo- 
lizing it. These effigies were isolated as if the divinity dwelt 
in lonely grandeur, and yet the outlook over all the region, 
and especially over the villages which were located beneath 
them, indicates that the feeling of protection was strong with 
the natives, their view of the height on which was erected the 
symbol of their divinity being a constant reminder of the 
protective presence.* 

(2) The point is also worthy of attention in connection with 
the enclosures. We have referred to the serpent symbol sup- 
posed by us to be embodied in the walls of Fort Ancient. 
This has been doubted. 

Other forts, however, have similar walls surrounding them. 
One such is depicted by Squier and Davis. + A fortification is 
situated on the Great Miami, four miles from Hamilton, in 

*8ee Antiquabian, Vol. IV., No. 4. 

+See plate II., figurea 1 and 2, on page 217 of American Antiqdarian, Vol. IV., No. 3. 



;^>^- ^' 

■J - "v'St t; 

;| Butler county. The walls curve 

i inwardly, at the gateway on 

! the land side, forming a semi- 

I circle or a horse-shoe, with a di- 

jameter of 150 feet. Between 

J^^' these walls, at the entrance of 

/--%;^1;the gate, is a circle of lOO feet 

:jn diameter, which nearly fills 

!^r:':-\^^ l.;^the space, leaving the passage 

^lS-^3^-%-/l, for the entrance way only about 

^-'^•?r;).4?.^ six feet wide. On the outside 

-r! cy^:?^^o{ the circle, and guarding the 



- . -*CC 

?;-3^^?.-'^.2 entrance to the passages is a 
mound, forty feet in diameter 
and four feet high. The form of the serpent is seen in the 
shape of the wall at the gateway, and in the curve of the walls 
along the bluff, as they surround the enclosure. A similar re- 
semblance to the serpent form may be seen also in the stone 
wall which has been described by Squier and Davis, at Black- 
run, fifteen miles from Chillicothe, in Ross county, Ohio. The 
gateway or entrance to this stone fort also has the serpentine 
form, as the ends of the walls bend around and back upon 
themselves in a way which suggests that the serpent symbol 
was intended. The gateway was fifty feet wide, but the walls 
curved back for the space of sixty feet. There are four peculiar 
stone heaps on the outside, starting within ten feet of and ex- 
tending northward for the distance of lOO feet. These walls 
are twenty feet broad at the ends, but they diminish gradu- 
ally as they recede to ten feet, at their outward extremities. 
They are ten feet apart, but being tapering they converge, 
and, taken together with the enclosure, they give rise to 
the idea that they were intended to represent the rattles of a 
huge serpent. No other explanation can be given to the shape 
of the walls, nor to the outlooks though the resemblance to 
the serpent form has never impressed any one before. 

Dr. Phene says that there are four and not five of these un- 
ique and strange stone walls or stone heaps. His idea is that 
they represent double rattles, a point which he has recognized 
in other works. 

The great stone fort on Paint Creek is but two miles away 
and overlooks this work. Both may be regarded as belonging 
to the same system, and probably in some way connected with 
each other. The situation of this enclosure may be seen from 
the map of the works of Paint Creek. It will be noticed that 
this serpent inclosure has somewhat the same relation to the 
village inclosures of the valley that the Alligator ^lound had 
to the inclosures at Newark. 


Allied to this custom of using serpent figures in connection 
with the forts and villages, is the custom which prevails on the 
Northwest coast. Here the tribes are all related to one an- 
other and are generally at peace; and yet each village is inde- 
pendent of every other village, and is controlled by some chief, 
who rules in the name of some great supernatural divinity; the 
emblem of this divinity is placed in front of the houses, or 
carried upon the poles, and is sometimes painted upon the 
canoes. This fact has been a source of protection to the vil- 
lages for generations. 

The figure of some animal or bird or fabulous creature is 
either placed upon the front of the houses or carved on the 
totem poles, and is seen and feared by all tho?e who approach 
the village. It serves the same purpose as did the Great Ser- 


pent Mound in Ohio, and as did the great serpent effigies, 
made of stone, which formed the balustrades of the stairway 
at Chichen-ltza, and as do the dragon figures which are still 
seen placed o\er the pagodas and temples of China. In fact, 
we may compare all these figures to the celebrated lions which 
were [)laced over the gateways at Mycenae, and the immense 
human-htaded bulls which were placed in the palaces at 
Ninevah and Bab\ Ion, and the sphinxes which guarded the ap- 
proach to the pyramids of Egypt. There arc also peculiar 
figures to be seen carved upon posts in front of the houses in 
Polynesia, and upon the rocks near the stone houses of the 
Easter Islands. These may be supposed to have served the 
same purpose as the carved and sculptured figures referred to 
abo\e. They were not fortifications, for they did not present 
any physical or material barrier, but there was back of these 
figures a religious influence which served as a protection to 
the houses. 


On the Northwest coast there were many other devices 
which served to impress the people with a sense of fear. The 
figures which were carved upon the totem poles were oftm so 
fierce and ghoulish in their attitudes and combinations that 
they are calculated to frighten anyone who looked upon them; 
but the people here were accustomed to make masks which 
were even more frightful, and to wear these in their dances and 
religious ceremonies. These made known the divinity or 
manitou which was supposed to preside over the village, and 
served as a protection to all who dwelt in the village. There 
was a vast system of mythology which prevailed among the 
people which increased their superstition. Among the m}ths 
the most remarkable were those which told of the dangerous 
exploits of certain birds and animals which were supposed lo 
haunt the air and the sea and the land. The most inter- 
esting one of these is called Ho Xhok. This fabulous bird has 


an immensely long beak and lives on the brains of men. An- 
other one is called " Hamatsa," a cannibal, who instills into 
others the desire of eating human flesh, and devours whom-so- 
ever he can lay his hands upon. AnotheJ monster is a canni- 
bal living on the mountains and is always in pursuit of man. 
Red smoke arises from his house. He has a female slave who 
procures food for him by catching men and gathering corpses; 
near the door of his house sits his slave, the Raven, who eats 
the eyes of the people whom his master has devoured. These 
fabulous creatures are often represented carved in wood and 
placed over the graves or in front of the houses, and form 
prominent objects in the villages. The double-headed serpent 
also is used as a totem, as well as a symbol of ofifice and 
of power. It owes its power to a superstition which existed 
among the people. 

These superstitions prevailed so extensively through the 
entire region, that they had the effect to keep the people who 


are scattered about, at peace with one another. The dances 
are religious ceremonies, and in them the masks are worn 
which represent deer and eagles and birds and human faces 
and wild animals in the most grotesque and hideous manner. 

The masks are often-times 
double, so that faces which 
represent birds will open and 
other faces are to be seen that 
are hideous, the glaring eyes 
and open mouth and serried 
teeth of these hidden faces be- 
ing calculated to inspire all who 
p look at them with fear, 

Another device is sometimes 
seen painted on the front of 
houses, which reminds us of 
one which was used as a coat of 
arms on the coast of Sumatra 
on the opposite side of the 
Pacific ocean. It consists of a 
double headed serpent, whose 
body rests over thedoor. Above 
the serpent are two birds re- 
sembling eagles; below are two 
Above, over the door, are two 
human faces and a bird standing upon them. The coat of 
arms, as described by Mr. Henry O. Forbes, "consists of a 
shield with double supporters on ^^ ^?-.>^,. 

each side; a tiger, rampant, bearing 
on its back a snake, defiant, uphold- y^/T.M^§i'''^ 
ing a shield in whose center the most ' / ll^' l|'r-: 
prominent figure is a sunflower, with \ r^.^l'" 
two deer, one on each side; above l:tf|*' 
the ornament is a half moon; the ;:'ilJ^("r, 
figures below the shield are two tri- f'*Ht^^ 
angles, balanced on top of one an- CTVIflf^ 
other."* >V<# 


other birds resembling ravens. 

This emblazoned board and its 
carved surroundings was hid away in ':x il?' i 
a little lone hamlet, among a half |f ' "" 
savage and pagen people. It was a ,-^*J 
surprise to the one who discovered ^^r'-%:^ 
it, but it is more surprising that it l^^^fe^.f i 
should so much resenible the figures '^'^^^^^:^0.'"^\ 
painted over the doorways of the 
native tribes on the Northwest coast. staircase in peru. 

Whether these resemblances were the result of contact, or 
parallel development, is a question, but this at least is true: 

•See " Naturalist's Warulerings," by Henry O. Forbes. New York: Harper Bros.; 1885. 
Pag* I So- 


the serpent and the tiger served as an emblem on the coast of 
Asia, as did the serpent, the raven, the eagle, and other 
creatures on the coast of America. 

Another example of this method of defense was found in 
the massive serpents which formed the balustrade to the stair- 
way at Chichen-Itza. Here the mcnstrous head projects out 
eight feet beyond the foot of the stairway, and its open jaws 
and glaring e)'es are so hideous as to impress anyone, and to the 
superstitious must have been exceedingly terrifying. These 
figures were perhaps designed more for ornaments than for 
defense, but they may have served the same purpose as did the 
Lion Gateway at Mycenae, and the ghoulish looking idol which 
was placed over the gateway to the temple at the City of 
Mexico, both of which had the effect to keep the sacred places 
from the intrusion ot profane feet. 

V. There remains to be considered another method of de- 
fence and one that was more effective than any other. It con- 
sisted in surrounding a city, and in some cases an entire country, 
with a strong, high wall, and then placing at the gateways and 
the passes high towers, which were guarded by troops, and pro- 
tected the city and the country from invasion. In may cases 
there were narrow stairways which led up to the citadels, and 
these were guarded by troops. The cuts represent these de- 
fenses, which were common in Peru. One of them represents 
the stairway at Pisac, the other the fortified pass at Pisac. 

Mr. E. G. Squier says of these: "Wherever it was possible 
for a bold climber to clamber up, there the Incas built up lofty 
walls of stone, so as to leave neither foothold nor stone for an 
assailant. In one case the ascent on the side of the town is by 
a stairway, partly cut in the rock and partly composed of large 
stones, which winds along the face of the rocky escarpment; 
hangs over dizzy precipices; twines around bastions of rock, on 
every one of which are towers for soldiers, with their magazines 
of stones ready to be hurled down on an advancing assailant. 
We find every projection or escarpment of rock crowned with 
towers, generally round, with openings for locking out through 
which weapons might be discharged and stones hurled. Every 
avenue of ascent is closed. Every commanding and strategic 
point IS fortified. Every peak is protected by a maize of works 
which almost baffle description,*' 

These towers, stairways and monutain passes resemble those 
which still exist in the midst of the gold regions of Mashona- 
land, which are very, mysterious, because no one knows at 
what time or by what nation they were erected. 














HOUSES OF fishermen; of hunters; of agricultural races; 
OF the pueblos xVnd cliff-dwellers. 

The subject of house-life is an interesting one, whether it is 
found in the historic or prehistoric races ; for it brings before us 
a picture which is not only familiar but real. Nothing is more 
suggestive of the life ot the people, and nothing better reveals 
the actual state of the times than this. If we can get an inside 
view of the homes of any people we may conclude that we have 
a good knowledge of what kind of people they are. i. House- 
life not only brings before us the condition of society, but makes 
known whether society was divided into families, into clans, or 
into any other groups. It other words, it reveals what was the 
real unit of society. 2. House-life brings before us more or 
less of the history of the people. If we take the ground that 
there has been a progress from the lower stages to the higher 
with all people then we only need to look at the condition of the 
house and home to know through what stages the people have 
already passed. 3. House-life also throws light upon the question 
of race and religion. It is not always the case to be sure that 
we can determine to what race a people belongs by looking at 
its homes, and yet there is much in the style of the buildings 
and in the internal arrangements which suggests the nationality, 
or race, to which the occupants belong. If this is the case in 
civilized countries, it is much more so in the uncivilized coun- 
tries. 4. The religion of the people is also made known by the 
home. In idolatrous countries it is easy to tell the religion of 
the people by the idols which are common. In countries where 
idolatry does not prevail the signs are not so apparent, and yet 
there will be many things in the house which, to the observing 
eye, will reveal the faith of the household. This is as true ot 
the prehistoric asof the historicraces. 5. House-life furnishes an 
index by which we can learn the degree of civilization which 
prevails. By this we can learn the condition of art and of letters 
and ascertain the real status of the people, as regards civilization 
and social progress. The condition of woman and the character 
of the children will be seen in the home more than anywhere 
else, and even the disposition of the men and their modes of life 
will be unconsciously brought out by the house or some of its 


The question arises, however, if house-life is so suggestive, 
how can we ascertain what it was during prehistoric times ? Our 
answer to this question is that the chief means is by studying 
architecture, and especially that form of architecture which was 
embodied in houses. The American continent furnishes a most 
favorable field for this line of study. There are here so many 
different specimens of house architecture, and these specimens 
are so distributed in the different geographical districts and so 
correlated to the occupations, social conditions, modes of life 
and means of subsistence, and other peculiarities of the people, 
that we have only to look at these structures to ascertain much 
concerning the prehistoric times. The study of the monuments 
brings us to this conclusion. 

If one can ascertain the character of a people by looking into 
their homes, and may always find that the house presents a true 
picture of what the people are, then the importance of the 
knowledge of the house architecture of the prehistoric races 
will be understood. We therefore address ourselves to the 
subject. We are to study the houses and the house interiors of the 
American races, with a view of ascertaining from them what 
were the habits and ways of prehistoric peoples. Our effort will 
be. first, to ascertain whether the employments and modes of life 
are indicated or represented by this class of structures ; second, 
to learn whether the stages of progress are indicated by the 
house-life ; third, to examine into the social organization and to 
see whether the house is in any way an exponent of the clan 

In reference to the first point, that is the employment, it will 
probably be acknowledged that in a general way the house and 
house-life are so correlated to it that we may ascertain the one 
from the other. We may need, to be sure, to examine the sur- 
roundings, look, not only to the debris of the camps and at the 
weapons and implements which may be associated with the 
place, but also the locality and all the surroundings to ascertain 
the employment ; and yet we may regard the house as the best 
representative, a better exponent than all. In reference to the 
second point, the grade of society or stage of progress, it is not 
always true that the house is a clear index, and yet, if we take 
the house in its geographical location and with those things 
which may be regarded as its contents, and consider that all are 
correlated, we shall be able to ascertain the exact condition of 
the people. In reference to the third point the task will be more 
difificult. It is an unsolved problem whether the primitive races 
lived in the communistic style and whether the clan system was 
universal. The size of the house and the internal arrangements 
have generally been regarded as indices of these, and yet it re- 
quires a very close analysis and careful study to ascertain the 
real facts. We shall take the house as the basis of inform- 


ation and seek to ascertain from this what was the real con- 
dition of the people. We have already shown that primitive r^- 
ciety was divided into different grades, the grades varying ac- 
cording to their employment. The fishermen represent the 
lowest grade, the hunters that which is next higher; agricultur- 
ists that which is still higher; villagers the next higher grade, 
and the dwellers in cities the highest of all. This may seem 
like an arbitrary division and yet it is carried out by the facts in 
the case. In America we find occupations so correlated, and 
the grades of society so marked by the houses that there is no 
difficulty in distinguishing them. They are, to be sure, divided 
by geographical lines and are so arranged in the different belts 
of latitude that we can almost tell before hand what to expect. 
The fishermen as a general thing are in the colder regions; the 
hunters in the regions farther south ; agriculturists still farther 
south ; and the civilized races in the torrid regions ; so that all 
that we have to do is to consider the geographical locality and 
wc may at once know^ what the grade of society was and the em- 
ployment, the means of subsistence and the general condition of 
the people, and the problem seems to be an easy one, yet in 
reference to the communistic system and some other points we 
find ourselves frequently baffled. We are to bear these points in 
mind especially, as we consider the houses which are found in 
the different parts of the continent. If we find what the typical 
structure was for each of the employments, and what kind of a 
house was associated with each grade, we are still to ask about 
the clan system, the communistic state, the social organization, 
the marriage rites, and those other questions which come up in 
connection with the home or house-life. 

I. We begin then with the houses of fishermen, especially those 
which are found in thefrozen regions of the north, i. We are to 
consider these as the typical structures, for a certain grade of so- 
ciety during the prehistoric age. We maintain that we have in 
the hut of the Eskimo a type not only of the rudest and most 
primitive, but the earliest form of house. We now find these 
huts on the border between the ice-fields and the water-plain 
marking a sort of bank between the habitable and the uninhab- 
itable; but in prehistoric times the line was much farther south 
and we may imagine that this kind of hut then was built on the 
edge ot that great glacial moraine whose folds stretch from the 
Atlantic to the Pacific in the latitude of 37° and from that to 
45°. This is our first epoch of house-building. Another point 
is noticeable. The house of the northern fishermen is the 
structure which intervenes between the cave-dwelling and the 
later habitation. As in Europe the dolmen and cromlech and 
lake dwellings are supposed to mark the line between the cave 
and the architectural structures, so these fishermen's huts mark 
the line in America. We here call attention to the remarks 


which Mr. William A. Dall has made about the houses and huts 
of Alaska. He has described the different stages of progress 
which may have taken place before the beginning of house- 
building. These stages he ascertained by the study of the relics 
and remains which he discovered at different depths in the shell- 
heaps. He thinks that the means of subsistence, the mode of 
life, the style of habitation were correlated. He divides the 
epoch ot human occupation into three or four different periods. 
First is what he calls the littoral period,* a period in which men 
built no huts and did not even occupy caves, but were mere 
squatters, so to speak. They were so rude that they merely 
covered themselves with a temporary structure of drift-wood and 
straw, something as the inhabitants of California shield them- 
selves by huts of brush-work. This hardly seems possible, ior 
in such a climate as Alaska no human being could have lived 
without protection. Mr. Dall found caves in this region, though 
he thinks the caves were only temporary habitations of hunters, 
and not of the fishermen. It is probable that we shall not 
find out what was the habitation of man during this period and 
yet it would seem as it caves were the habitations then as well 
as during the fishing period. Mr. Dall says that the stratum in 
the shell-heaps which marked the fishing period differed from the 
preceding by the appearance of a few rude net sinkers, chipped 
stone knives, bone darts, and hand lancss, and by quantities of 
fish-bones and says the fishing period was represented by the 
fish-bone layer, but that the littoral period was marked by the 
layer of echinus shell. He says "the total absence of awls, bod- 
kins, knives, needles, buttons.or of any bone utensil which might 
be used in msking clothes leads to the conclusion that the peo- 
ple did not wear clothing." He says "there were no lamps, no 
baking stones, no hearths," so he concludes that this ancient 
people were not in the habit of using fire. According to this 
the ancient man in America must have been a very strange kind 
of creature. It seems much more satisfactory to take the cave- 
dweller of Europe as the representative of the littoral period 
and the hut-builder as the representative of the fishing pe- 
riod. We strike upon these solid facts when we reach the fish- 
ing period. This period is marked by the use of fire, by the 
manufacturing of clothing, and by the erection of rude huts or 
houses. Here then we have the order of succession. In 
Europe we have gravel beds the first, cave-dwellings the sec- 
ond, lake-dwellings the third, stone monumuents the fourth, but 
in America the littoral period, the fishing period, the hunting pe- 
riod, the agricultural period. We put the beginning of house- 

*Mr. Morgan makes natural subsistence upon fruits and roots 'an evidence of the 
earliest stage, but assigns tlie inhiibitants to a tropical or subtropical climate. Fish 
subsistence was correlated to the middle stage of savagery. Outside of the great flsh 
areas cannibalism became the dire resort of mankind. The littoral period we con- 
sider arbitrary, yet suggestive. 


building in the second or fishing period, and assign the cave- 
dwelling to the so-called littoral period. The Eskimo's hut is 
perhaps a good representative of the first constructed house. 

This type of house is found among fishermen in all parts of the 
continent, though it may not always be constructed of ice-blocks 
or attended with the same underground entrance, yet as a style 
it is common. It is very remarkable that the dolmens and 
cromlechs of Europe have retained some of the features of this 
earliest kind of house. They have the long entrance to the in- 
ner chamber and were generally covered with the hemispheri- 
cal mound resembling the Eskimo hut. 

It is supposed that the graves of Europe were frequently imi- 
tative of the houses, the urn huts being imitative of the lake 
dwellings, and the dolmens imitative of the fisherman's house. 
This same prevalence of early types of houses may be seen in 
America It is very remarkable at least that the huts or houses 
of the tribes which occupied the shores of the great lakes were 
generally hemispherical,* as were the houses of the Eskimo. 
They were to be sure covered with bark, which was laid upon a 
framework of poles, and not of ice-blocks ; but we connect the 
shape with the employment. It is also well known that in 
America the hunter tribes generally constructed houses made 
from a frame-work of poles, which were covered either with 
bark or matting or skins ; but it is remarkable that the hunter's 
tent or wigwam was almost always in the shape of a cone, the 
poles being tied together at the top very much as a number of 
muskets would be stacked, and the covering placed upon the 
poles. We here give the cut illustrative of these two styles 
of da-ellings. See Fig. i. The one is the hut of the Chippewa 
tribe, the other of the Algonquins. In the cut may be seen the 
earliest form of st;-uctures erected by the white man, the old- 
fashioned wind-mill ; and the difference between the native inhab- 
itants and that which was introduced from Europe, especially 
France, may be recognized. 

2. It would .seem that we have the typical .structures of the 
first stage of society, and that the earliest people who undertook 
to build houses at all must have dwelt in huts like This 
thought is confirmed by the investigations into the kitchen mid- 
dens or shell-heaps. Mr. Paul Schumacher has described the 
kitchen middens on the coast of Oregon, and speaks of the 
sunken rings or depressions in the shell-heaps as if they were 
an indication of the kind of houses that were occupied by the 
fishermen. He imagines that they were conical or hcmispheri- 

*Mr. Morgan savs: "At the time of their discovery— 1C41— the Ojibwas were seated 
at the nipids on the outlet of Lake Superior. Their position possessed advantages 
fora fisli and game sul)sistenee, which, as they did not cultivate maize and plants, 
was tlioirniain reliance. The Ojibwas and Ottawas and Pottowottoniies are divi- 
sions of the original tribe. Their home was originally upon the shores of Lake 
Superior. .\11 of these tribes have the same kind of tent." 


cal houses covered with earth. The age of these kitchen mid- 
dens is unknown, but it does not matter. In Denmark and Swe- 
den the kitchen middens are supposed to be of an ancient date, 




















though it is uncertain whether they preceded the age of the 
pakafittcs or Lake dwellings, or not. The round shape of the lake 
dwellings is noticeable, a shape which is not confined to the 
kitchen middens. We are carried back then to the primitive- 


people and to the earliest age by this kind of structure and yet 
it is not merely true that the fishing period is represented by 
it. We go to the most primitive people in all lands and find 
the hemispherical hut. In Afi-ica it is the commonest structure 
of all. In this respect Rev. J. G. Wood says "that the Africans, 
especially the Zulus, have no idea of a house, otherwise than as 
a circular hut. A house with angles to it is the most inconve- 
nient structure possible for them. They do not know what to 
do with the corners, and in fact have no ability to make corners. 
If they undertake to draw a straight line so as to make a square, 
they will get the angles wrong and sides unequal. A circle 
comes to them as natural as a cell to a bee. Whether the 
change from the savage to the civilized state seems to have an 
effect upon the instincts of man, we find this to be true, that the 
circle changes to a square. It is very remarkable that the 
mound-builders, especially those in the agricultural state, have 
both the square and the circle as the models for their village en- 

It is interesting to notice that houses resembling this hut are 
found wherever there is a low grade of society, whether in Africa 
or America, whether in historic or prehistoric times. They are 
not confined to fishermen nor are they found only in the Arctic 
regions, but they seem to be wide spread. They are found in 
California as well as on the banks of Lake Superior, in the midst 
of the sand plains as well as upon the ice-fields. 

Mr. Powers says: "The round, dome-shaped, earth-covered lodge 
is considered the characteristic one ol California, and probably 
two thirds of its immense aboriginal population lived in dwell- 
ings of this description."* The door-way is sometimes on the 
top and sometimes directly on the ground at one side. "In the 
snow-belt of the Coast range and the Sierras the roof must nec- 
essarily be much sharper than on the lowlands ; hence roof and 
frame became united in a conical shape, the material being poles 
or enormous slabs of bark. See Fig. 3. In the very highest 
regions of the Sierras where the snow falls to such an enormous 
depth that the fire will be blotted out and the whole open side 
snowed up, the dwelling retains substantially the same form and 
materials; but the fire is taken into the middle of it and one side 
of it slopes down more nearly horizontal and terminates in a 
covered way about three feet high and twice as long." 

Mr. Powers uses the terms "valley-style or dome-shaped, and 
mountain-style and conical-shaped, to designate the different 
kinds of lodges," and his generalizations seem to be correct. 
Still it is a question whether the shape of a lodge or house was 
not, among all aboriginal tribes, indicative of the previous his- 
tory, condition and employment of the people. 

♦See Vol. IV, p. 106, Con. to Amer. Eth. 



3- As to the question whether the communistic system prevailed 
among the fishermen and the hunters ahke, this arrangement of 
the interior proves nothing. The size of the house might be used 
as an argument, but we must consider that polygamy prevailed 
and it would require a large house to accommodate a family with 
several wives and numerous children. We would call attention 
to the cuts from Catlin's work to show that the IMandans dwelt 
in families and not in clans. The platforms with a cen- 
tral fire were common among the Chippewas on Lake Superior 
and among the Iroquois of New York State, as well as among 
the Eskimos. According to Parkman the Iroquois placed their 
platform some four feet above the ground, and slept both above 
and below the platform. These constituted a sort of berth, some- 
thing like the berth of a cabin. We must consider them as mere 
matters of convenience, which were common in cold countries, 
giving warmth to the inhabitants, as well as room in the habita- 
tion. Of course the number of fires in the house would indicate 
the number of families, and where there were several we might 
suppose the communistic system to prevail. In the Eskimo hut, 
however, there was but one fire. If the Iroquois house con- 
tained a clan, there is no reason to suppose that the Eskimo 
house did. Eskimo huts were generally arranged in clusters, 
and we can not help thinking that the clusters were arranged so 
as to make villages, and the village embraced the clan, leaving 
the house for the family or for the household, that is a family 
with its immediate relatives. The same was true with the sav- 
ages who were hunters, and of the Africans who were agricul- 
turists, or herdsmen; they all arranged their houses in clusters, 
and it seems probable that the clan-life was embodied in the vil- 
lage rather than in the house. 

II. ^Ve turn now to the houses of hunters, i. The question 
arises whether there was any typical structure for the hunting 
period. We have spoken of the conical hut as distinguished 
from the hemispherical hut, and have suggested that it was typi- 
cal of the hunter state. This is the point we are considering. 
The cone was certainly used by many of the hunter tribes. It 
was not only among the Algonquins, but the Dakotas and other 
wandering races. There was a reason, however, for this. The 
conical tent was easily taken down and transported. There are 
many descriptions of the ease with which these tents were re- 
moved. The covering was stripped off, the poles separated and 
then placed on either side of the dogs or ponies which were 
owned by the family or clan ; the covering was placed upon the 
poles, the furniture upon the covering, and the young children 
upon the furniture. In this way a whole village could be 
removed in an incredibly short time. The tent which be- 
fore served as a house now served as a vehicle. It was a 
mover's wagon which had no wheels, but served the purpose 


very well. It is remarkable that the Sibley tent, which was used 
by our army when marching, and is still used on the frontier, 
was modeled after the Dakota wigwam. The conical tent or 
house was very common, and its use was very widespread. We 
do not regard it as necessarily connected with the hunter stage 
and yet it may be a good representative. There is no doubt but 
that the hunters occupied a grade of society which was in ad- 
vance of that of the fishermen. Their relics would indicate this. 
Both were in the stone age, but there were difterent degrees or 
periods in this age. The use of pottery and of polished stone 
axes has generally been regarded as a dividing line. Hunters 
used these ; fishermen did not, or if they did they were not as 
common among them as among the hunters. 

The hunter life may be recognized by the shape of the house 
as well as by the character of the implements. In looking 
through the series of Catlin's paintmgs we find the conical hut 
among the Comanches, the Crows, the Dacotahs or Sioux, and 
the semi-conical among the Mandans; these were all hunters. 
Parkman says the Algonquins used the conical hut. It was the 
typical house for all that region which intervened between the 
Ohio River and the Great Lakes, and which extended out across 
the prairies as far as the Staked Plain and New Mexico. It is 
associated with hunter life, but is more common in the prairie 
region than in the forests. The wild hunter tribes, who were al- 
ways on the move, would naturally prefer such a house, for it 
could easily be taken down and was best adapted to the hunter's 
life. It was the habitation which was common on the prairies, 
especially among the Dacotahs. 

2. We are next to inquire whether the house architecture 
of the hunter is an index of their social grade. As to 
this some would take the position that the form of the lodge 
was owing to the climate and to the surroundings rather than to 
the mode of life. Mr. Stephen Powers, in speaking of the Cali- 
fornia tribes, enumerates several varieties of the lodge constructed 
by these tribes, and adapted to the different climates of the state. 
One form was adapted to the raw and foggy climate of the Cali- 
fornia coast, constructed of redwood poles over an excavated 
pit; another to the snow-belt of the Coast Range and of the 
Sierras ; another to the warm coast valleys ; another, limited to 
a small area, constructed of interlaced willow poles, the inter- 
stices being open ; another to the woodless plains of the Sacra- 
mento and the San Joaquin, dome-shaped and covered with 
earth ; and another to the hot and nearly rainless region of the 
Kern and Tulare valleys, made of tule.* 

Stephen Powers speaks of the style of lodge sometimes seen 
among the Hupas, a tribe on the lower Trinity, in Northern Cal- 

*See Contributions to American Ethnology, Vol. IV. 


ifornia, as follows : "A circular cellar three or four feet deep 
and twelve leet wide, was dug and the side walled up with stone. 
Around this cellar, at a distance of a few feet from the edge of 
it, was erected a stone wall on the surface of the earth. On this 
wall there leaned up poles, puncheons, and broad sheets of red- 
wood bark. Sometimes this stone wall, instead of being on the 
inside of the stone wall, was on the outside on the ends of the 
poles ahd served to steady them. In the center of the cellar is 
a five-sided fire-pit, walled with stone, as in the common square 
cabin; this cellar is both dining room and dormitory ; a man 
lying with his head to the wall has his feet in comfortable posi- 
tion for toasting before the fire ; under his head or neck is a 
wooden pillow, something like that described by travelers among 
the Japanese. See Con. to Anier. Eth., Vol. III., p. 74. Here 
then we have the convenience of construction to be the motive 

Fig. 5, — A House Common Among (he fiicrra-s. 

for the style, rather than the mode of life or history of the peo- 
ple ; still we should say that the lodge was an indication of the 
stage of culture reached by the people ; as the more advanced 
people were able to overcome difficulties and make the con- 
struction conform to their ideas, while those in the lower grades 
would consult only ease and convenience. As a general rule we 
should say that while there are no hard and fast lines by which 
we can tell whether a house belonged to a hunter tribe or not, 
yet the tendency with those who are sedentary in their habits 
was to erect the hemispherical cabins ; but with the nomadic 
races the tendency was to use the conical tent. This could be 
easily taken down and moved ; but the dome-shaped hut, espec- 
ially if it was covered with sod or thatched, could only be left to 
rot down or be destroyed. 


Mr. Powers suggests that the mountaineers drew their models 
from nature herself; the yellow pine, which furnishes the model 
for the Gothic style of the temple, may have furnished also the 
model for the primitive house of the people. The pine does 
indeed shed the snow because of its conical shape, and Gothic 
houses are common where snow is abundant. So far we think 
Mr. Powers is correct. Still it is uncertain whether the one was 
borrowed from the other. There are Swiss houses [among the 
mountain peaks of the Alps which have sharp roofs, and the two 
seem to go together, making the landscape unique and beauti- 

We acknowledge the force of these suggestions and yet the 
grades of society were probably effected by the local surround- 
ings; and in a general way we may consider the mountaineers 
and inhabitants of the valley as in the same grade with the 
hunters on the prairies; all having reached the last stage of 
savagery, or the earliest stage of barbarism. 

3. The most important point in reference to the hunter's 
house is whether the communistic system is indicated by it. 
We shall need to examine the interiors of the house to ascertain 

In reference to the internal arrangement of the house, the 
hunters seem to differ from the fishermen. According to Cat- 
lin the hunters generally divided the house into small sleeping 
apartments, protected by hangings of robes or skins with the 
robes or furs on the ground for sleeping upon, with a post in 
front on which hung the arms and implements of the warriors. 
The Eskimos built platforms around the sides for the sleeping 
apartments, but had no separate divisions. There was an open 
space in the middle of both huts, but in the hunter's house skins 
were hung on the posts near the center and the children were 
gathered in the space around the fire and were entertained 
with stories. With the fishermen there were no such hangings, 
but the hut made one apartment. 

We give several cuts to illustrate these points. These are 
taken from Catlin's book, reproduced by the Smithsonian Insti- 
tution, and kindly loaned us for use. It will be seen that the 
Comanches arranged their tents in clusters, that they were all 
of them conical in shape; they do not seem to have observed 
any particular order in locating them. On the other hand, the 
Mandans used the truncated cone as the shape after which they 
modelled. They always arranged their houses around a hollow 
square and generally placed their " big canoe," as Catlin calls it, 
in the center. This canoe represented the traditional vessel on 
which their great ancestor survived the flood. It served to per- 
petuate the myth as to the creation and first origin of the race, 
and was an important object in all their feasts and ceremonies. 

Sometimes there was a combination of the two types in one 


building, the wall being nearly perpendicular, but the roof being 
conical. This was the case with the Mandan hut. It was a 
cone and a sphere combined. It was built with a heavy frame- 
work, was covered with poles and then with sod or dirt forming 
the outer covering, thus making it warm in winter and cool in 
summer. The following is the mode of construction . Twelve 
posts are set in the ground at equal distances on a circle, string 
pieces rest in the forks at the top of the posts, braces are sunk 
in the ground which slant upward to the top of the wall ; slabs 
of wood are set in the spaces between the braces, resting against 
the stringers, (see Fig. 4,) surrounding the lodge with a wooden 
wall ; four round posts are set in the ground near the center of 
the floor, ten to fifteen feet high, ten feet apart ; string pieces are 
placed upon the tops of these ; poles are placed as rafters on these 
stringers; these poles are covered with willow matting, upon 
which prairie grass was over spread and over all a deep covering 
of earth ; an opening was left in the center of the roof for the 
exit of the smoke , there was but one entrance, protected by what 

Fig. U — Plan of Mandan House. 

has been called the " Eskimo doorway." that is, by a passage five 
feet wide, ten or twelve feet long and six feet high ; each house 
was divided into compartments by screens of matting or skins 
suspended from the rafters ; these compartments opened toward 
the central fire, having a central area around the fire-pit, which 
was the gathering place of the inmates. 

III. We are next to take up the houses of the agricultural 
races. We are brought back from our wanderings among the 
mountains of California and among the prairies of the west to 
the regions south of the Great Lakes adjoining the Atlantic 
coast and the Gulf States. This was the region occupied by the 
agricultural people in prehistoric times. "We begin with the 
houses of the Iroquois. Mr. L. H. Morgan has furnished a de- 
scription of these, though his description differs from that of 
Mr. Parkman. The Iroquois house was undoubtedly very much 
like that of the Powhattan tribe in Virginia. This has been pic- 
tured by the painter Wyeth, and we know exactly how it was 
built. It was a house, according to Mr. Parkman, whose roof 


was bent in the form of a semi-circle with the sides perpendicu- 
lar; the ends square; the whole structure being rectangular, but 
being much longer than broad. 

Mr. L. H. Morgan has represented them as having an angular, 
peaked roof, instead of a rounded one. The picture of a pali- 
saded fort and village of the Onondagas contains representations 

of the houses of the Iro- 
quois. These are in clusters, 
but the most of them seem 
to have rounded rather 
than peaked roofs. We 
may conclude then thatthis 
was the typical house, 
among all the agricultural 
tribes of the Mississippi 
Valley, both historic and 
prehistoric; at any rate, it 
was the structure which was 
I discovered by the early ex- 
Iplorers both in Florida, 
-^ throughout the Gulf States, 
I and as far north as Virginia, 
:■ North Carolina and Ten- 
3 nessee. It is very probable 
IJi t^ that it was the structure 
S-- which prevailed among the 
s^ Mound-builders of this re- 
\ gion. Mr. Morgan's de- 
^scription of the so-called 
long-house was taken from 
the Journal of a Voyage to 
New York, taken in 1676, 
200 years ago, by Jas- 
per Bankers and Peter 
SI u iter, but we regard the 
picture of the fort taken in 
the time of Champlain in 
1 6 1 5 as more correctly rep- 
resenting the prehistoric 
times. The following is 
the description: "Their 
house was low and long, sixty feet long, fourteen or fifteen 
feet wide; the bottom was earth; the sides and roof were 
made of reed and the bark of chestnut trees ; the posts or 
columns were limbs of trees stuck in the ground and all fastened 
together; the top or ridge of the roof was open about half a foot 
wide from one end to the other, in order to let the smoke es- 
cape, in place of a chimney; on the sides of the walls of the 


house the roof was so low that you could hardly stand under it; 
the entrance or doors, which were at both ends, were so small 
and low that they had to stoop down and squeeze themselves in 
order to get through them ; the doors were made of reed or flat 
bark; in the whole building there was no lime, stone or lead."* 

Mr. Morgan's restoration of the "long house" of the Seneca- 
Iroquois does not quite correspond with the facts, or at least 
does not quite represent the typical structure of the agricultural 
races. The houses of the natives of the South were all of them 
with bent or semi-circular roofs, and this, we think, was nearer 
the type of house which was common among the agricultural 
races. Mr. Morgan's reconstruction of the Mound-builder's 
house is also faulty. We do not know what that house was; it 
probably varied with the different tribes and races. In some of 
the Mound-builders' districts there are circular ridees or rincfs 
which show that the lodges were either conical or hemispherical 
and not rectangular. Such is the case in Tennessee and in Mis- 
souri. In the Southern States it is very probable that the 
Mound-builder's house was rectangular; at least the pyramids 
had that form and it is probable that the superstructure con- 
formed to the foundation. There are many rectangular plat- 
forms among the earthworks of Ohio ; these probably had square 
houses upon them; there are also many circular enclosures in 
which circular houses must have been the structure which formed 
the habitation. 

In reference to the communistic system, Mr. Morgan, who was 
the first author who has brought this system to light, maintains 
that the Iroquois long-house embodied it, but that it was a sys- 
tem which prevailed extensively and was embodied in other 
houses as well as this. We call attention to Mr. Morgan's de- 
scription of the house of the Iroquois because it seems to us 
that there is just enough difference in the houses to disprove 
this position. The long-house of the Iroquois was from 50 to 
80 and sometimes 100 feet long. The interior of the house was 
comparted at intervals of six or eight feet, leaving each chamber 
entirely open like a stall upon the passage way which passed 
through the center of the house from end to end. At each end 
was a doorway covered with suspended skins. Between each 
four apartments, two on a side, was a fire-pit in the center of the 
hall, used in common by their occupants. Thus a house with 
five fires would contam twenty apartments and accommodate 
twenty families, unless some apartments were reserved for stor- 
age. Each house, as a rule, was occupied by related families, 
the mothers and their children belonged to the same gens, while 
their husbands and the fathers of these children belonged to 
other gentes , consequently the gens or clan of the mother 

♦See Con. to Amer. Eth. Vol. IV,, r. '18. 


largely predominated in the household. Whatever was taken in 
the hunt or raised by cultivation by any member of the house- 
hold, as has been elsewhere stated, was for the common benefit."* 
We must remember, however, that the houses of the Aborigines 
were not often like the long-house. They were divided into 
compartments, but the majority of them were much smaller and 
would accommodate fewer people. We have maintained that it 
was the village enclosure which accommodated the clan and that 
the communistic system embodied itself in the village, but that 
the house was built for the family and not for the clan. V/ithout 
denying what has been said about the Iroquois we hold that the 
Indians generally had their families and immediate relatives in 
the house very much as white people, but that they made their 
villages the abode of the families that were related, in other words, 
the home of the clan. All that Mr. Morgan has said about the 
obligations and privileges of the clan we believe to be true, but 
the hospitality of the family would be accounted for by the clan 
system. One family could borrow from another in the village, 
and the clan system would make it an obligation to lend or give; 
but this does not prove that every house contained a clan or that 
every family in the clan had an absolute right to what the rest 
had. The communistic system did not necessarily extend 
through the whole village ; the family may have had all things in 
common, but this does not prove that the clan did. This is an 
important distinction. The house accommodated the family, 
and all things may have been common to those dwellmg in the 
house, but the village enclosure accommodated the clan and only 
the land and the public store was the common property of the 

Mr. Morgan lays down five heads or elements as peculiar to 
communism — the law of hospitality, communism in Hving, the 
owning of lands in common, the practice of having but one 
meal prepared a day, a separation at meals, the men eating 
first, and the women and children afterwards. All of these ele- 
ments were embodied in the family, but it is doubtful whether 
they were common except among the Iroquois and among 
the pueblo tribes of the West; and there is some uncertainty in 
our mind that even as to the Iroquois themselves. We ac- 
knowledge that there was a communistic system and that 
communistic hfe in some of its features was practiced among 
the agricultural races; but we can hardly believe that it was so 
universal and so pervasive as Mr. Morgan makes it out to be. 

IV. We now turn to the houses of the village Indians. 
Here the communistic life reached its height. If we would 
study the system we must look to these pueblos, for they em- 
bodied it with the greatest perfection. The pueblos were un- 

*Con, Amer. Eth., Vol. IV., p. 121. 


doubtedly communal houses. They seem to be in great con- 
trast with all others. They are not built separately, but seem 
to have been built in great blocks; a single block containing 
many tenements and running up to several stories in height. 
The many-storied or terraced pueblo is the typical structure for 
village Indians. How this type came to be introduced is a 
question. There is a mystery about it. It is certainly a re- 
markable style of building and there are no steps by which we 
can trace a development of architecture Irom a lower stage to 
this. There are, however, three principles which may to a 
certain degree account for the style- of architecture. In the 
first place, the house was made the abode of a clan or tribe, 
the communistic system having found its complete develop- 
ment in this. In the second place it was erected as a defense 
and like the old block-houses of the times of the French and 
Indians war was made more than one story high; the lower 
story being closed against an enemy and the upper story serv- 
mg as a place of attack. The third point is that the pueblo was 
erected in the place where the population was necessarily gath- 
ered into the center, the system of irrigation requiring a com- 
bination. The water was drawn from a running stream, taken 
at a point above the pueblo, carried down through a series of 
garden-beds, and the people used it and cultivated the ground 
together; this made the residence of the people compact. 

Mr. Morgan says: "These houses represent together an 
original indigenous architecture, which with its diversity sprang 
out of their necessities." "Its fundamental communal type is 
found not less clearly in the houses about to be described in the 
so-called palace of Palenque, than the long-house of the Iro- 
quois." The degree of their advancement is more conspicu- 
ously shown in this house architecture. Each pueblo was an 
independent organization under a council of chiefs, except as 
several contiguous pueblos, speaking dialects of the same lan- 
guage, were confederated for mutual protection. "Through- 
out all these regions there was one connected system of house 
architecture as there was substantially one mode of life." Mr. 
Morgan also speaks of the defensive character of these pueblos. 
He says: 

"The pueblos now in ruins throughout the original area of New 
Mexico, and for some distance north of it, testify to the perpet- 
ual struggle of the former to maintain their ground as well as 
to prove the insecurity in which they lived." The Indians north 
of New Mexico did not construct their houses more than one 
story high, or of more durable materials than poles covered 
with matting or bark or coated over with earth. A stockade 
around their houses was their principal protection. In New 
Mexico going southward they are met for the first time. 
That the means of subsistence required a compact settlement 
will be evident to any one who examines the country, and thus 




comes to understand the necessities of the case. Village life 
found its complete development in this region, as irrigation re- 
quired a combination of effort and favored residence in villages. 
The village, however, became so compact that it was at limes 
embodied in a single pueblo or terraced building. There were, 
however, many villages which contained several pueblo houses. 
The village of Zuni, which is of modern date, has a large 
number ot these pueblo houses. As to the situation of these 
villages some have supposed that they were originally placed 
upon the mesas or inaccessible cliffs; and that those which are 
found in the valleys are of a modern origin. Mr. Mendelieff", 
who has explored and surveyed many of them, is of the opinion 
that there were three eras or epochs; that in the earliest period 
they were located on the bottom lands in the canons, later were 
moved to the mesas for defense, and then at a modern date 
were moved back again to the valleys. 

The pueblos have been compared to the cliff' dwellings, as 
the same cause which will account for the pueblos being upon 
the mesas, may account for the cliff dwellings being in the sides 
of the cliffs; namely, to escape danger At an early period in 
history there was a prolonged attack upon the people, and there 
was no other way of escape than to build their houses in the 
sides of the cliffs. In studying the cliff' dwellings we find that 
the same elements were combined in these that were in the 
pueblos. There was the same communistic system embodied 
in them, notwithstanding the difficulties of the case. There 
was also the same means of subsistence, but the element of de- 
fense was the one which ruled. 

We can realize something of the fear of the people from the 
height at which their houses were placed, some ot them being 
a thousand feet above the valley and hanging like bird's-nests 
amid the crevices. The communal system was here subordin- 
ate to the desire for defense, and yet it was continued, clans and 
families making their retreat in these fastnesses. All the 
elements of village life were embodied, notwithstanding the 
inconvenient situation in which the village was placed. If we 
can imagine a pueblo to be taken up bodily and dashed against 
the side of an immense precipice, the rooms thrust into the 
niches and caves, but the walls scattered and built among the 
shelters, we will have a picture of the cliff-dwellings ; for all of the 
rooms, including the dwelling, the store-houses, the estufas or 
"sweat-houses," are found in these cliffs or caves, the terraces 
and outside walls only being absent. Frequently the order was 
reversed, for the store-houses were above the dwellings and 
the estufas were above the store-houses; each being reached in 
turn by steps which were cut in the side of the rock. If we 
imagine the side of the precipice to answer for the wall ot the 
pueblo, the steps in the rock to answer for the ladder, the cave 
floor to answer for the terrace, and the sides of the caves to 


answer for the division walls, we have the pueblo restored. 
There were man}^ of these caves in which there were springs 
or fountains, and it is supposed that all the conveniences of do- 
mestic life were secured in these strange retreats; social and 
domestic life were thus provided lor in the caves. Where a 
village could not be accommodated tiie people made a virtue of 
necessity and placed their families in one niche, their stores in an- 
other, and their places of assembly or estufas in another. There 
were breast-works or walls on the edge of the clift to keep the 
inmates from falling, and so children were safe. For subsistence 
they either passed down the sides of the clifT to the garden 
patches below, or climbed up to the fields, which were scarce, 
on the mesas above; possibly a combinatton of the two brought 
a living to the people. That the clif^-dwellings and pueblos 
were built on the same general plan and by the same class of 
people is evident. The pueblos are frequently seen on the top 
of the rocks or isolated mesas, the buildings arising in different 
stories above the cliff's, but sheep enclosures and garden 
patches being placed on the benches below the cliffs. In some 
of these the whole cliff or mesa seems to be terraced, the rock 
itself with its terraces or benches forming a model for the build- 
ings above. 

As to the style of building these pueblos there seems to be a 
difference of opinion. Mr. L. H. Morgan, H. H. Bancroft, W. 
H.Jackson, Lieut. J. C. Ives, and Gen. J. H. Simpson have all 
described the pueblos, and the most of them imagine that the 
walls were perpendicular upon one side and in terraces upon 
the other; the terrace being regular so as to make a connected 
platform along the whole front. Other authors who have ex- 
amined the buildings more recently maintain that they were 
built in successive stories, but that the platforms or terraces 
were at different levels and frequently faced away from the court 
as well as toward the court, m fact extended around the four 

Gen. Simpson was the first one to di&cover the pueblos. His 
report contains an account of the most important. Lieut. Ives 
says: "Each pueblo is built around a rectangular court, in 
which, we suppose, are the springs that furnish the supplies to 
the reservoirs. The exterior walls, which are of stone, have no 
openings, and would have to be scaled or battered down before 
access could be gained to the interior. The successive stories 
are set back one behind the other. The lower rooms are 
reached through trap-doors from the first landing. The houses 
are three rooms deep and open upon the interior court. The 
arrangement is as strong and compact as could well be devised, 
but as the court is common and the landings are separated by 
no partitions it involves a certain community of residence." A 
restoration of the pueblo of Hungopavie made by Mr. Kern, 
who accompanied Gen. Simpson as draughtsman, will give an 


idea of the manner in which the pueblos were built. Mr. Mor- 
gan says: "We may recognize in this edifice a very satisfac- 
tory reproduction of the palaces of Montezuma, which like this 
were constructed on three sides of a court and in the terraced 
form." Lieut. Simpson, in his report, has furnished ground 
plans of five of these structures with measurements. They 
are all constructed of the same material and upon the same 
general plan. They contain from lOO to 600 apartments each, 
and would severally accommodate from 500 to 4,000 persons. 
Lieut. Simpson, speaking of the pueblo of Pintado, says: 
"Forming one structure, and built of tabular pieces of hard, 
fine-grained, compact, gray sand-stone, (a material entirely un- 
known in the present architecture of New Mexico) to which the 
atmosphere has imparted a reddish tinge, the layers or beds 
being not thicker than three inches, and sometimes as thin as 
one-fourth of an inch, it discovers m the masonry a combination 
of science and art which can only be referred to a higher stage 
of civilization and refinement than is discoverable in the works 
of Mexicans or Pueblos of the present day." The thickness of 
the main wall at the base is about three feet; higher up it is 
less, diminishing every story by retreating jogs on the inside, 
from bottom to top. The series of floors indicate that they 
must have been originally three stories. 

The system of flooring seems to have been large, transverse, 
unhewn beams, six inches in diameter, laid transversely from 
wall to wall, then a number of small ones laid longitudinally 
upon them; brush, bark or slabs placed upon these and covered 
with a layer of mud mortar. The beams show no signs of the 
saw or axe. On the contrar}-, they seem to have been hacked 
ofi by some very imperfect instrument. On the ground floor 
are fift3'-four apartments, some of them as small as five feet 
square, the largest about 12x6 feet. The rooms communicate 
with each other by very small doors, some of them as contracted 
as 25^x2^ feet; and in the case of the inner suite, doors com- 
municating with the inner court as small as 35^x2 feet. See 
Fig. 6. The principal rooms, or those most in use, on account 
of their having larger doors and windows, were probably those 
of the second story. Lieut. Simpson says: "In the northwest 
corner of the ruins we found a room in almost a perfect state 
of preservation. This room was 14x7^ feet in plan and 10 feet 
in elevation. It has an outside door 2}i feet high by 2^^ wide; 
one at its west end, leading to the adjoining room 2 feet wide.'^ 

The pueblo Bonito is thus described: Its present elevation 
shows that it had at least four stories of apartments. The 
number of rooms on the ground floor is 139, making a reduc- 
tion of one range of rooms for every story after the first would 
increase the number to 641. One of the best rooms as shovvn 

•Fig 34, Con. Amer. Eth., Vol. IV., p. 162. 


in the engraving, was drawn by Mr. Kern. "It is walled up," 
says Simpson, "with alternate beds of large and small stones, 
the regularity of the combination producing a very pleasing ef- 
fect; the room has a doorway at each end and one at a side; 
each of them leading into adjacent compartments. The light 
is let in by a window 2x8 inches, on the north side. The mod- 










ern pueblo room differs from this one in that chimneys are 
erected in them and wider doors open from them. Yet the 
same general characteristics are retained. See Fig. 7. Mr. 
John Ward, Indian agent, has given description of these: "No 
room has more than two windows, very few have more than 
The first story, or the ground rooms, are usually without 


doors or windows. The only entrance being through the doors 


or scuttle hole in the roof, which are within the rooms com- 
prising the story above. The basement rooms are used for 
store-rooms. Those in the upper story are the rooms mostly 
inhabited ; those located in the front part of the building receive 
their light through the doors and windows before described; 
the back wmdows have no light than that which goes in through 
the scuttle-holes and the partition walls leading from the front 
rooms. Some families have as many as four or five rooms, one 
of which is set apart for cooking, and is furnished with a large 
fire-place for the purpose. Those who have only two or three 
rooms usually cook and sleep in the same apartment and in 
such cases they cook in the fire-place which stands in one corner 
of the room-* 

In reference to the arrangement of the stories it would seem 
as if the restorations which have been given, hardly convey the 
right idea. No pueblo has been discovered which has terraces 
arranged as regularly as these represent them to be. The 
most of the photographic pictures of them convey a more cor- 
rect idea. 

In these the pueblo is a pile of buildings, but only portions of 
the building reach to the fifth story. Mr. Ward says that "there 
is no regular terrace, no entire circuit can be made around any 
one of these stories; the only thing that can hi called a terrace 
being the narrow space left in front of some of the rooms from 
the roofs of the lower rooms." 

Lieut. Joseph C. Ives visited Moqui pueblos near the Little 
Colorado in 1858. They are seven in number, situated upon 
mesa elevations within an extent of ten miles, difficult of access 
and constructed of stone. As to the population of these build- 
ings, there seems to be a great diversity of opinion. It will be 
acknowledged that they were built for the accommodation of 
large numbers; though we think the numbers have been exag- 

Yet Lieut. Ives says: "We came upon a level summit and 
had the walls of the pueblo on one side and an extensive and 
beautiful view on the other. The town is nearly square, and 
surrounded by a stone wall fifteen feet high, the top of which 
forms a landing extending around the whole of it. The faces 
of the bluff have been ingeniously converted into terraces; these 
were faced with neat masonry and contained gardens, each sur- 
rounded with a raised edge, so as to retain water upon them. 
Pipes from reservoirs permitted them to be irrigated at any time." 

There are eleven pueblos in the Chaco canon within a dis- 
tance of nine miles; this would make a population exceed the 
densest population in civilized countries. The modern pueblo 
of Zuni contains no less than 12 or 15 pueblo houses. Figur- 
ing from the estimates of Mr. Morgan it would contain 16,000 

*rig. 28, Vol. rv., Con. to Amer. Eth., p. 148. 


inhabitants, while as a matter of fact it contained only i,6oo. 
We must reduce the number of families in each pueblo to rec- 
oncile the estimates with the facts. This does not, however, 
conflict with the idea that there was a communistic system. 
Mr. David J. Miller says: "Their government is composed of 
the following persons: A cacique, or principal sachem, a gov- 
ernor or alcade, a lieutenant governor, war captain, six fiscals 
or policemen. The cacique has the general control of all offi- 
cers in the performance of their duties." Mr. Morgan says: 
"At the time of the discovery the pueblo Indians of New Mex- 
ico worshipped the sun as their principal divinity. They had 
periodic assemblages of the authorities and the people, in the 
estufas, for offering prayers to the sun, to supplicate him to re- 
peat his diurnal visits, and to continue to make the maize beans 
and squashes grow for the sustenance of the people." Mr. 
Jackson describes the estufas: "They are each 25 feet in di- 
ameter; the inside walls are perfectly cylindrical, and in the 
case of the inner one are in good preservation for the height 
of about five feet. * * * There are no side apertures, so 
that light and access were probably obtained through the roof. 
These estufas which figure so prominently in these ruins, and 
in fact in all the ancient ruins extending southward from the 
basin of Rio San Juan, are so identical in their structure, posi- 
tion, and evident uses with the similar ones in the pueblos now 
inhabited, that they indisputably connect one with the other, 
and show this region to have been covered at one time with a 
numerous population, of which the present inhabitants of the 
pueblos of Moqui and of New Mexico are either the remnants 
or the descendants."* 

*Con. to Amer. Eth., Vol. IV., p. 158. 








The prevalence of an Ethnic style of architecture among 
the early historic races has been recognized by all, and the 
names which have been given to the different styles are famil- 
iar. The question before us is as to the manner in which these 
various styles arose and the way in which they came to be so 
generally adopted and so well established ; in other words, 
what were the beginnings of the architectural styles. 

It is, however, a question which we do not expect fully to 
answer, but merely to throw out a few hints, and especially 
hints which have been received from the study of the various 
styles of construction and ornamentation which formerly ex- 
isted on the American continent. 

Every one knows that the Egyptians, at an early date, 
adopted a style of architecture which they transmitted and 
which is to this day distinctive and is called Egyptian style. 
The same is true of the Assyrians, the Greeks, the Romans and 
the Goths, all of whose styles continue to the present time 
and are easily recognized and distinguished. The same is also 
true, to a certain extent, of the Chinese, the Hindoos, the Tar- 
tars or Turks, and Arabs, for all of these nations of the east 
impressed themselves upon their architectural works and have 
transmitted their ideas and methods of construction through 
all the generations. We do not claim for America that there 
was any such general national style as existed in the old world, 
for there was no one nation, the continent being too large and 
the geographical districts too diverse to admit of this, but we 
do claim that there was on this continent a large number of 
tribes or stocks, each of which possessed a style peculiar to 
itself, the elements of which can be easily analyzed and ac- 
counted for. These elements, in a general way. may be class- 
ified under the heads of the material that was used, the method 
of construction which was common, the general style of orna- 
mentation which prevailed, and the form, shape and plan of 
arranging the houses which were peculiar to the different tribes, 
for in these same simple and rude tribal methods of ex- 
pressing their thoughts and tastes and religious ideas, we may 
find the germs from which all the great national styles and 
orders have grown, and for this reason they are worthy of close 

We do not claim for this continent any of the so-called 


orders, for these were totally unknown here, though the distinc- 
tion between st>le and order should be drawn, for orders were 
introduced by the Greek tribes, i. e., the Doric from the Dori- 
ans, the Ionic from the lonians, and the Corinthian from Cor- 
inth, but these orders were not known or practiced by the other 
nations of the east until a very late period, and were never 
practiced by the native races of America. There were in Amer- 
ica styles which were confined to tribes, just as there were in 
Greece, orders which belonged to and bore the name of the 
Greek tribes, the number of styles here in America being equal 
to the number of tribes or collection of tribes, even as the 
number of orders in Greece were equal to the number of na- 
tions or tribes in Greece. Nor do we claim for America that 
there was one general style or order, for this would imply that 
there was an American nation, whereas there was here only a 
number of tribes, though every tribe had its own method of con- 
structing the houses they lived in, its own method of arranging 
those houses in a village, and its own style of decorating the 
houses, the style being derived from the mythology which pre- 
vailed. We may say further that the tribes which were situa- 
ted in certain large geographical districts were so influenced 
by their surroundings that it was not so much an individual 
tribe as a collection of tribes which impressed themselves upon 
the architecture, and the style which prevails in any one district 
is not so much tribal as it is geographical, and characteristic 
of the locality rather than of the people. There was, to be 
sure a habit of borrowing from one another which prevailed 
among the tribes which dwelt near together, which strength- 
ened and intensified this tendency to merge the tribal into the 
geographical --tyle, thus makmg a sort of middle ground be- 
tween the tribal and national, but with enough diversity for us 
to recognize the elements which were blended together and de 
cide as to what was the specific type which each tribe had 
adopted for itself, making the classification what maybe called 
ethnic or tribal st\ les. We may well take the geographical 
districts and speak of the peculiarities which were character- 
istic of the collective tribes rather than the single tribe. 

The following is the list of tribes which we may say 
in a collected capacity have shown a style of house construc- 
tion and style of ornamentation which were characteristic and 
which in a general way may exhibit the ethnic traits. Consid- 
ered geographically, they may be said to begin at the far north 
and to make two distinct lines, one on the west and the other 
on the east The Alaskans occupying one district had one 
general style of architecture. The Thlinkeets, who dwelt on the 
northwest coasts where forests abounded and where the sea 
furnished a great variety of food, had another style and used 
wood as material, while the Pueblos, who dwelt in the interior 






















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b0f ,:M.#AtQ( (- P- 


among the cliffs of Arizona and New Mexico, had an entirely 
different style, stone being the material used, the terraced house 
being the typical form. Tribes, who dwelt in Mexico and Cen- 
tral America, had a style which was somewhat similar and used 
the same material — stone — though their ornamentation was 
entirely different. Thus we find along the Pacific coast 
five general divisions or geographical districts over which 
definite and distinct styles of structures were distributed and 
can be easily recognized. A similar division can be recog- 
nized along the Atlantic coast. 

The Esquimaux first, at the extreme north ; the Canadian 
tribes second; the wild tribes which were scattered along the 
Great Lakes third! those on the Ohio River a fourth, and the 
tribes situated along the Gulf States a fifth, Ten distinct 
styles of constructing and ornamenting their houses may thus 
be seen in North America, all of which were different from 
those which existed among the Peruvians of South America 
and the tribes east and south of Peru. 

As to the manner in which these different styles arose there 
may be a difference of opinion, yet there is no doubt that much 
was owing to environment, for the method of construction 
would naturally depend on the material which was the most 
abundant. The ornamenting would depend largely upon the 
mythology which prevailed. The arrangement of the houses 
in the villages would also depend upon the circumstances, for 
those who were situated along the seacoast would naturally 
make their houses front the sea, but those who were situated in 
the deep interior, where enemies were numerous and means of 
subsistence scant, would naturally live together and make their 
houses their fortress as well as the home of the entire tribe. 
On the other hand, those tribes who dwelt in the rich valley of 
the Mississippi would naturally make earth walls for their de- 
fense and gather their villages within the walls, while those 
living on the flood plains of the south would build pyramid 
mounds and resort to these in time of great freshets, the necessi- 
ties of the case and influence of environment being sufficient 
to account for the different kinds of villages and for the differ- 
ent methods of defense. 

In this respect the architecture of America differs from 
that of any other country. Here the districts which are 
bounded by certain geographical and climatic lines, are as 
distinct from one another as if thej- were upon different 
continents. The style of building, as well as of ornament- 
ing, are also peculiar to each district and rarely go beyond 
certain territorial boundaries. A wide region intervenes 
between these districts where no particular style is recog- 
nized, but in other countries there is no such limitation. 

The thought which is forced upon us by the works which 


appear on this cotinent, is that society here had not reached 
that stag^e where the sense of proportion and beauty had 
come into full exercise, and yet there was an inliuence which 
came from mytholog"y and a certain unconscious taste which 
was engendered by it, which gave a peculiar character to 
the works and structures which were erected by the people 
of the same general locality or geographical district. This 
character we may ascribe to the people as an inheritance, 
and say that it has come down from an ancestral religion 
which embodied itself in the ornamentation. The styles were 
in this sense all traditional. The compelling idea was de- 
rived from the religious beliefs and mythologies which pre- 
vailed, though the material used, the purpose of the build- 
ing, the proportions required, were dependent upon other 
causes than those which affected the ornamentation. In 
other words, the religion and mythology of the different 
tribes affected the ornamentation, but emplo^^ment, means 
of subsistence, climate and other physical causes, affected 
the construction. There was no one style of architecture in 
America, but as many styles as there were systems of my- 
thology, for the ornamentation was always borrowed from 
the mythology which prevailed in the region, Illustrations 
of this are numerous, for we find on the northwest coast or- 
naments in which the figures of the creatures of sea and 
forest and certain strange monsters are conspicuous. In 
tbe prairie region of the West we see the tents ornamented 
with birds, plants and animals peculiar to that region. In 
the Gulf States there were formerly carved figures with 
the human form in grotesque attitudes, serpents, idols which 
combined the heads of different animals, and a great variety 
of nondescript creatures, all carved out of wood, while in 
Mexico and Central America we see a great variety of fig"- 
ures carved upon the facades of the palaces, the serpent 
being the most consiDicuous but human figures and faces 
are very prominent, all of which represented the mythol- 
ogies and forms of religion which prevailed there. 

Illustrations of these points may be found among the living 
tribes, for each tribe presents a different architectural style. 
To illustrate : The round house of the Eskimos, the long 
house of the Iroquois, and the square house or the houses 
around the square of the Mobilians. are all indicative of differ- 
ent modes of government and different customs and conditions. 

We take then the tribes situated along the Pacific, especially 
those of the northwest coast. Mr. H. H. Bancroft has described 
these. He divided them into several classes, as follows: i. Hy- 
perboreans; 2. Columbians, Californians; 3. New Mexicans; 4, 
wild tribes of Mexico; 5. wild tribes of Central America. He 
has given descriptions of the peculiarities of each. From his 


( '- ^ 






descriptions we learn that different districts were occupied by 
different tribes, and that tribes differed in their employment, 
means of subsistence, social organization, types of architecture, 
as well as art products. 

Mr. Bancroft's division of the tribes seems to be somewhat 
arbitrary, as it is based mainly on the geographical location, 
without regard to language or race affinities. Still so far as 
architecture is concerned, it seems to be an excellent one, for the 
centers of population correspond with the architectural centers 
so closely that a division of this kind enables us to understand 
the subject clearly. An argument might be drawn from this, to 
be sure, to prove that the architectural qualities were altogether 
the result of geographical surroundings and that ethnical quali- 
ties had nothing to do with them. We acknowledge that there 
is much force in this thought, and are ready to recognize the fact 
that styles of building, as well as modes of living, were influenced 

Fig. 1 — Ground Plan of an Eskimo House. 

by the geographical causes, such as climate, means of subsistence 
and material for building. Still the tribal emblems of each 
tribe and race, we think^ may also be recognized in these material 
structures. This will be seen as we proceed. 

I. We take first the Hyperboreans Here we find five classes 
of people and five centers of population, all of them included 
under one general head, as follows: Eskimos, Koniagas, the 
Aleutians, the Thlinkeets and Tinnehs or Athabascans. All of 
these are still dwelling under the shadows of the midnight sun 
and drawing their subsistence from the waters which permeate 
the frozen regions of the north Their surroundmgs were very 
similar, their subsistence similar and their modes of life corre- 
sponded to their subsistence. We find, however, from their 
language, customs, and modes of architecture, the prevalence 
of totemism in the whole region. Bancroft says: "In all the 
nations of the north every well regulated village aspiring to any 
degree of respectability has its public or town house, which 
among the Eskimos is called the casinc or kasJiiiii. It consists of 
one large subterranean room, better built than the common 
dwellings, and occupying a central position, where the people 


congregate on feast days." He says: " The /cas/iim or public 
house of the Koniagas is built like their dwellings and is capable 
of accommodating 300 or 40c people." This, it appears, was 
without carving or ornamentation, a plain place of assembly, one 
which was large enough to accommodate all who might gather 
in it. It was used as a public workshop, where are manufactured 
boats, sledges and snow-shoes. Among the Aleuts a religious 
festival is held in December, at which all the women of the 
village assemble by moonlight. There is also a custom of rep- 
resenting in their dances myths and legends, and of acting out 
a chase, one assuming the part of a hunter and the other a bird, 
each trying to escape the snare. Among the Thlinkeets there 
is the custom of ornamenting their houses with heraldic symbols 
and allegorical and historical figures, while in front of their 
principal dwelllifgs are carved figures representing the human 
face, crows, the heads of sea lions and bears. The Thlinkeets 
burned their dead, but the ashes are carefully collected in a box, 
covered with hieroglyphic figures and placed on four posts. The 
method of building their houses is very much the same among 
all these tribes. They have a summer and a winter house, the 
winter house being the most elaborate of the two. The common 
method of erecting this is to first dig a hole of the required 
dimensions to a depth of about six feet, erecting a frame upward 
two or three feet above the ground, and then placing a roof 
above. With the Eskimos the custom is to place a dome-shaped 
roof above the excavation. But of the Koniagas the custom 
was to dig a square space and to cover it with a square building, 
sufficiently large to accommodate three or four families. The 
habitation of the Fox Islands (Aleuts) consists of immense holes 
of one to three feet in length and from twenty to thirty feet wide 
covered with poles and earthed over, leaving several openings at 
the top, through which the ascent is made by ladders. The 
interior is partitioned off by stakes, and sometimes 200 or 300 
people occupy one of these places. The Thlinkeets build sub- 
stantial houses of planks or logs, sometimes of sufficient strength 
to serve as a fortress. They are six or eight feet in height, the 
base is in the form of a square ; the roof of poles, placed at an 
angle of 45°, and covered with bark. The entrance is by a 
small side door. The fire is in the center of the room, but 
around the room are apartments or dens which are used as sweat- 
houses, store-houses and private family rooms. They exhibit 
considerable skill in carving and painting the fronts of their 
houses. Wherever they can find a place they paint or carve 
their crest and heraldic device of the beast or the bird designat- 
ing the clan to which the owner belongs. There are two great 
divisions or clans among them — the wolf or the raven. But the 
raven is divided into sub-clans, called the sea lion, the owl and 
the salmon ; the wolf into the bear, eagle, dolphin. See Fig. 2. 


The Tinnehs or Athabascans generally dwell in villages and 
the people are called after the name of the region in which they 
dwell. Their winter houses or tenements are frequently made by 
opening a spot of earth to the depth of two feet, across which a 
ridge-pole is placed, supported at either end by posts. Poles 
are then laid from the sides of the excavation to the ridge-pole 
and covered with hay. A hole is left in the top for entrance and 
to let the smoke escape. Thus we see that a different method 
of constructing houses prevail with each one of these hyper- 
borean tribes. The same is true in regard to their canoes; 
while there is a general resemblance to their house architecture, 

F>g. 2— A Thlinkeet House, with a Thunder Bird for a Totem. 

yet each tribe had its own method of constructing a canoe, the 
Eskimo having one, the Thlinkeet another, the Athabascan an- 
other style, each easily distinguished as peculair to the tribe. 

2. We take the Columbians next. These are divided into 
several tribes. First the Haidahs, Nootkas, Chinooks and Salish 
family. Here we find distinct architectural styles as well as dis- 
tinct race qualities, the two corresponding in all places, the cen- 
ters of population and the architectural centers being closely 
related, (i.) We begin with the Haidahs. Their permanent vil- 
lages are especially built in strong natural positions, guarded by 
precipices, sometimes on rocks detached from the main land, 
but connected with it by a narrow platform. Their houses are 
built of logs or of split planks, frequently large enough to ac- 
commodate a number of families. Poole mentions a house 
which formed a cube of 50 feet, 10 teet of it being dug in the 
ground, which accommodated 700 Indians. Their houses are 


nicely constructed and stand in a row, having large images in 
front cut out of wood, representing idols. Dwellings have all 
painted fronts, imitations of men and animals. The sacred 
houses of the Haidahs are often raised above the ground on a 
platform supported by posts, which were carved with human 
figures and painted red and black. McKenzie speaks of a large 
building in the center of a village, the center posts representing 
persons with their hands upon their knees, as if they supported 
the weight with pain and difficulty, the others, however, stand- 
ing at ease with their hands upon their hips. The Haidah 
canoes are dug out of logs, sometimes 60 feet long, 6)4 wide, 

4^ deep, accommodating 100 men. The 
prow and stern are curved like a swan's neck, 
and with a monster's head at the extremity. 
With respect to carving and a faculty for 
imitation, the people are equal to the most 
ingenious of the Polynesian tribes, whom they 

(2). The Nootkas choose strong positions 
for their towns and encampments. Each tribe 
had several villages in favorable locations for 
fishing at different seasons. The villages are 
sometimes built on detached rocks, with per- 
pendicular sides, and provided on the seaside 
with projecting platforms resting on timbers 
projecting from crevices. These are reached 
by ascendmg the cliff on a bark rope ladder. 
The houses, when more than one is needed 
for a tribe, are placed with regulaiity along 
the streets. A row of large posts, from ten to 
fifteen f.-et high, grotesquely carved, supports 
an immense ridge pole, sometimes lOO feet 
long, with other rows on either side. The 
whole was covered with split cedar planks. A 
house like this, 40 by 100 feet, accommodates many families, 
each of which has its allotted space partitioned off like a double 
row of stalls, with a passage in the middle. In the center of each 
stall is a circle of stones for a fire-place, and around the walls 
are raised couches covered with mats. The Nootkas display 
considerable taste in ornamenting their houses and implements 
with sculpture and paintings, the chief effort being made in the 
supporting posts, which are called totems. Figs. 3 and 4. The 
sound Indians, such as the Clallams and Chehalis, have tem- 
porary huts for the poor and substantial houses for the rich. 
The houses measure over lOO feet in front and are divided into 
rooms, several fire-places in each dwelling, raised benches around 
the sides, and walls lined with matting. 

(3). TheChinooks build dwellings of cedarplanks, with corner 

Hff. .1. Fig. 

Totem Posts. 


and central posts, the eaves being four or five feet high, but an 
equal depth excavated in the ground. Partitions of planks sepa- 
rate the apartments of the several families ; the door is only large 
enough to admit the body. It was a favorite fancy of the natives 
to make this represent the mouth of a great head painted around 
it. In carving they are inferior to the Haidahs. 

(4). The inland dwellings are often built sufficiently large to 
accommodate several families, each of which has its own fire- 
place, but no dividing partitions are ever used. Holes are left 
along the side for entrance and mats and skins placed on the 
ground for a floor and the skins serve for beds. The evidence 
of ethnic traits in these tribes is manifest in the architecture as 
well as in the language and mythology. The dwellings are ar- 
ranged in small villages,*generally located in winter on the banks 
of small streams, a little away from the main rivers. 

Fig. 5— A Haidah House.' 

We give a series of cuts here to represent the architecture of 
this region. It will be seen from these that totemism was a 
marked peculiarity — that this totemism embodied itself in their 
architecture. In one case the wings and head of a gigantic 
bird cover the entrance to the house, forming a sort of 
piazza in front of the house. See Fig. 2. In another case 
there is the figure ol a whale and a fish carved in front ot the 
building, the opening being through the body of the fish. See 
F'S- S- This is a Haidah house. In the third case totemism 
embodies itself in the genealogocal trees, carved pillars being 
placed in front of the houses, the houses themselves being lett 
plain. See Fig. 6. There is a marked contrast between all 
of these houses and those of the Eskimos, pictures of which 
we have already given in previous numbers. 

We give two figures to illustrate the manner of constructing 
the supporting posts in the Haidah houses. These have been> 


• described by Rev. Mr. Eells. His description corri-sponds to 
that already given by Bancroft and others. 

Thus we see that the architecture of this region varied with 

Jb^g.6~Totem Posts. 

the locality of the tribe, each tribe having a style peculiar to 

It would seem as if there were centers of population and 
architectural centers, and 3et the houses, forts and other struc- 
tures were characterized by styles of ornamentation and by 


■ways of symbolizino^ and methods of carvinc^ which were pecu- 
liar to the reijion. VV^e do not know where the fashion came 
from, whether from Japan and the Polynesian Islands, or where, 
yet It was peculiar and strancre. 

Here we quote from Dr. Franz Boaz, who says: "The civili- 
zation of Northwestern America is not uniform. Three centers 
may be distinguished, which agree fairly with the linguistic 
divisions. The totemism of these g'-oups, their mythologies, 
their social organization and their tribal customs differ. An 
alleged similarity of Asiatic and northwest coast culture could 
not be recognized by him on this account. A similarity of the 
Kwakiutl, Salish and Tsimshian elements is out of the question. 
It is necessary to study the Haida element, and it may be that 
there a connection exists." 

3. The Californians come next. These are divided by Ban- 
croft into lour classes — northern, central, southern and eastern, 
the first embracing the Klamaths, Modocs and Shastas, the 
second embracing the Tulares, the Yosemites, the Russia-river 
and many other insignificant tribes; the third embracing the 
tribes about Los Angeles and San Buenventura, but the last 
embracing the Shoshones, Bannocks, the Utes, the Pah-Utes, 
the VVashoes, and others. The California Indians as a general 
thing present a very regraded aspect; in fact may be regarded 
as about as low a grade of humanity as is found in the continent. 
Architecture would prove this even if there was no other evi- 
dence. "The habitation of the Klamath Indians is built in the 
following manner: a circular hole five feet in depth and var3'ing 
in diameter is dug in the ground. Around this pit stout poles 
are sunk, which are drawn together at the top until they nearly 
meet. The hole is covered with earth. The dwellings built bv 
the Hualpas are a little better. The inside of the cellar is walled 
up with stone, and at a distance of a few feet from it another 
stone wall is built on the surface. Heavy beams or logs are 
leaned up across this, meeting at the top." The position of the 
door varies, being sometimes on the roof, sometimes on the 
level, and sometimes high up in the gable. But the slope and 
dimensions of the door never vary. It is always circular, barely 
large enough to admit a full-grown man." "The house is the 
abode of a family. Each head of a family governs his own 
domestic circle as he thinks best, but there is a head man to 
each village and sometimes a chief to each tribe." The great 
institution of the northern Californians is the tcmescal, or 'sweat 
house,' which consists of a hole dug in the ground and roofed 
over in such a manner as to render it almost air-tiijht. It serves 
not only as a bath and medicine room, but also as a general 
rendezvous for the male drones of the village." 

X he central Californians are still more degraded than the 
northern. Their dwellings are as primitive as their dress 
In summer all they require is to be shaded from the sun, and 


for this a pile of bushes or a tree will suffice. The winter huts 
are sometimes excavated three or four feet below the j^round 
and consists of willow poles with tops drawn together, formincr 
a conical structure, or with the upper ends drawn over and 
driven into the earth, so as to give a semi-globular shape. 
Each hut generally shelters a whole family of relatives, so that 
the dimensions of the habitation depends upon the size of the 
family. Thatched, oblong houses are occasionally met with 
in the Russia north valley in the form of a letter "L." In the 
center the different families of relations had their fires, while 
they slept next to the walls. The habitation of the people of 
Nevada and the greater part of Utah are very primitive and 
consist of heaps of brush, under which they crawl, or even a mere 
shelter of bushes, semi-circular in shape, roofless and three or 
four feet high. The Snakes or Shoshones build better dwell- 
ings than the Utes, and yet these are very primitive. Long 
poles are leaned against each other in a circle and are then 
covered with skins, forming a conical tent. 

We see, then, that the Californians, while they were divided 
into different tribes, were — owing to their degraded position — 
scarcely separable from one another. There was certainl}- no 
differentiation in their architecture for their dwellings, their re- 
ligious houses, their defences were all comprised in one, and 
that the rudest kind of a hut, and the tribes were only distm- 
guishable by their excess of filth and squalidness and degreda- 

4. The New Mexicans come next. These present an en- 
tirely different aspect from the Californians. Here we come 
upon the Apaches, Pimas, the Navajos, the Moquis and the 
Pueblo families. We shall, however, speak of them under an- 
other head, and therefore omit a description of their architec- 

5. The wild tribes ot Mexico and Central America follow 
next. These included the Quinames, the Olmecs, the Otomis, 
the Huastecs, the Miztecs. These, however, were once civi- 
lized races and we shall treat them under that head. Our view 
of the wild tribes will therefore cease with the mere mention. 
Enough has been said concerning their architecture to convince 
us that it was, to a certain degree at least, afiected by ethnic 
tastes and customs, though the social status and modes of life 
may have had much to do with it. 

li. We next take up the monuments found in the Mississippi 
valle}'. We are now brought into the region of the Mound- 
builders. These are strictly prehistoric, and yet their monu- 
ments are left for us to study. The position which we take is 
that the mounds and earth-works give evidence of a similarity 
of tastes. This similarity is exhibited by the tokens contained 
in burial mounds and by the earth-works themselves. We find 
in the same region a great diversity of structures, and are com- 


pelled to ascribe them to different dates and to different styles. 
Here \ve would call attention to the contrast between the 
architecture of the southern tribes and that of the northern 
tribes. These tribes have been considered as belonging to 
the same race and as occupymg the same social status, mani- 
festing the same stage of progress, but when we study their 
architecture we find a great contrast, for it resembles that of the 
civilized tribes of the southwest far more than that of the un- 
civilized tribes of the northeast, showing that it had been 
borrowed from or had been influenced by the people of the 
southwest, and had perpetuated that influence for many gen- 


The following were the methods of constructing and orna- 
menting houses among the northern tribes : 

The Dakotas constructed theirs in the form of conical tents, 
out of poles, covered them with buffalo skins, and ornamented 
the sides with the clan-totems or with the dream-gods or some 
other figures suggestive of their mythology. 

The Comanches constructed theirs out of poles, but- 
thatched the outside with reeds and grass, in such a shape that 
they resembled so many stacks of hay. 

The Mandans constructed theirs out of heavy posts with 


t.' 1 r 

cross timbers, and covered the whole with sod and placed th-.-i 
totem poles in front of the houses. 

The Ojibwas constructed theirs out of poles and bark b it 
in an oblonj^ shape, with the ends upright and a door at eich 
end. The Iroquois built theirs also with a fr^me work of p.>l 
and a covering of bark in an oblong shape, but with a long p s 
sage way running lengthwise of the hut, and places for diff 
ent fires in the passageway. The interior was divided i t > 
apartments for the different families. (See cut.) 

The Powhattans built theirs in about the same way as t e 
Iroquois, but the Seminoles constructed theirs put of po t-; 
which were set upright in the ground and pUced in a circu a 
shape, with a conical roof made out of rafters which w re 
thatched with reeds and grasses. 

These northern tribes made no distinction between t e 
houses of the chiefs and those of the common people, for tiiev 


were all of the same style and appearance, and were on a com- 
mon level and were generally placed in a circle about an opm 
area, sometimes with a stockade around them to protect the 
village. The only structures which were separate from the 
villages were be the forts on the hill or the burial places 

near by. 

When, however, we come to the Southern Indians of the 
Muskogee stock, such as the Creeks, Cherokees, Choctawsand 
Chickasaws, we find an entirely different system. These tribes 
dwelt in villages, but they were villages which resembled in a 
rude way the cities which were occupied by the Aztecs, Toltecs 
and various tribes of Central America. Among the points of 
resemblance, the most important one is, that the ruling classes 
and ofificials, such as the chiefs and their families, lived sepa- 


rate from the common people and built their houses on the 
summits of the p\ ramids The priests, or medicins men, also 
had their tempic or rotundas upon the summit of conical 



mounds, the rotunda being used also for councils as well as for 
religious assemblies. Another peculiarity was that their so- 
called dead houses, or houses in which the bodies of the dead 


were placed, were full of treasures and contained many carved 
images which stood in a threatening attitude and were objects 
of terror to the common people, Still another point of resem- 
blance was, that the ceremony of reproducing the sacred fird 


was practiced among these people — a ceremony which resem- 
bled that which occurred among the Aztecs once in every fifty 
years, at which time there were many human sacrifices, and the 
fire was reproduced by whirling the fire generator upon the 
body of a human victim. This strange ceremony involved 
the breaking of old pottery vessels and the cleansing of the 
houses, the use of new xessels, as well as the distribution of 
fire from the central altar to the fireplaces of the entire people, 

The most interesting point of resemblance between the archi- 
tecture of the Muskogees and of the Aztecs and Toltecs, 
is found in the temples or so-called rotundas, or places of as- 
sembly. The rotundas of the southern tribes were, to be sure, 
constructed out of wood and were rude in their appearance,, 
and yet when we come to consider their shape and general 
style of construction, the symbolism which was embodied in 
their ornaments, carved figures, also the general arrange- 
ment of the different parts and the use ot them, especially in 
connection with religious ceremonies, we shall find many very 
striking analogies. 

These rude and primitive temples, which were called rotun- 
das, with their covering of bark and their circle of seats or 
sofas on which the inmates lounged, with the fire in the center, 
were indeed very inferior to the massive stone structures 
which were wrought with such care and contained so many re- 
ligious symbols, and yet we may perceive a resemblance be- 
tween every part, for both represented apparently the great 
temple of the universe with its circular horizon and the dome 
of the sky surmounting it, the sacred fire being in the center 
beneath the dome and the lightnings playing in the form of 
serpents between the earth and sky, while the sun with its 
changes shone in from the four quarters. The symbolism 
which is contained in these great houses and rotundas of the 
Southern Indians is certainly very significant, especially con- 
sidering the fact that they so closely resembled that which pre- 
vailed among the so-called civilized people of Mexico and Cen- 
tral America, for it shows that they had contact with one an- 
other and may have belonged to the same stock, and originally 
migrated from the same center. There was, to be sure, as we 
have said, a variation in the style of building between these 
tribes, but it was a variation which was more noticeable in the 
houses of the common people than in the houses of the rulers 
or in the rotundas. Bartram describes these as being the same 
among the Cherokees, Choctaws and Chickasaws. 

The feature which furnishes the most striking resemblance 
between the works of the southern Indians and those of the 
Mexican tribes, and at the same time shows the greatest con- 
trast to the earthworks of the northern Indians, is the pyramid. 
The shape of the pyramids may be seen by examining the cuts, 

26 1 

one of which represents the pyramidal mounds which still 
stand at Walnut Bayou, near the Mississippi River ; and the 
other, the series of pyramids which are still found at Teotihua- 
can, in Mexico. 

The pyramidal mounds mark the site of an ancient village 
of the southern mound builders, a village in which the houses 
of the chiefs were placed above those of the common people, 
all of them arr.inged in a quadrangular form, but with stair- 





264 f: 


eJIII] [III1-, 

279 FT 


ways leading from them to the open area in the center, while 
a long wall stretches away from the group on the side of the 
stream or bayou, thus furnishing a landing place for the people 
in time of high water. The truncated pyramids atTeotihuacan, 
on the other hand, mark the site of an ancient, prehistoric 
city, which was situated in a great plain. The houses of the 
u 1 ;■ cl asses in this city, however, were arranged as were those 


of the village. They were all placed on the summit of the 
pyramids, but in quadrangles, all of them fronting the courts, 
which were enclosed .while a wide road, called the " Pathvyay of 
the Dead, led from the central temple to the gateway in the 
distance. The contrast between the village of the mound 
builders and and the city of the pyramid builders seems to be 
great, yet the foundations on which the two widely separated 
peoples placed their temples and the houses of the ruling 
classes are very similar. 

This resemblance between the works of the southern mound 
builders and of the pyramid builders of the southwest, can 
hardly be accounted for on the ground of ethnic relationship, 
inasmuch as the people at present speak different languages. 
Still there are traditions among the Muskogees to the effect 
that their ancestors migrated from the west and southwest, 


from the mountain of fire, and entered the region of the Gulf 
States many generations ago. That there was a resemblance 
in the arrangement of the apartments of the great house of the 
Muskogees and the apartments of the palace of the Mayas, 
may be seen from the cuts, which represent the ground plan 
of the palace called the Nunnery, at Uxmal, and the restora- 
tion of the palace of Palenque. Bancroft has described the 
Nunnery as follows: 

"This is perhaps the most wonderful edifice or collection of edifices 
in Yucatan, if not the finest specimen of aboriginal sculpture and archi- 
tecture in America. The supporting mound is, in general terms, 350 feet 


square and iq feet high, its sides very nearly facing the cardinal points. 
The southern or front slope of the mound is about 70 feet wide and rises in 
three grades or terraces. There are some traces of a wide central stairway 
leading up to the second terrace. On the platlorm stand four of the typical 
Yucatan edifices, bnilt around a courtyard with openings between them and 
the corners. The southern building is 279 feet long, 28 feet wide, and 18 
feet high. The northern, 264 feet long, 28 feet wide and 25 feet high. The 
eastern, 158x35 feet, and 22 feet high. The western, 173 feet long, 35 feet 
wide and 20 feet high. The situation of the four structures forming the 
quadrangle and the division of each into apartments, is shown in the ac- 
companying plan. Each of the four buildings is divided longitudinally 
into parallel ranges of apartments, arranged very much like those of the 
governor's house, with doorways opening on the interior court. They all 
present the same general features of construction — angular arched ceilings, 
stone rings on the inside of the doorways for curtains, holes in the sloping 
ceilings for hammock timbers, and an entire absence of openings except 
the doors. The sides and ends of each building are plain and unplastered 
below the cornice; above the cornice the whole surface — over 24,000 square 
feet for the four buildings— is covered with elegant and elaborate sculp- 
tured decorations. The four interior facades fronting on the court are pro- 
nounced by all beholders the chef de-ceiivres of the aboriginal decorative 
art of America, being more chaste and artistic and less complicated and 
grotesque than any other fronts in Yucatan," 


.- JF-'->''-' -^"^ ^ a'-f.-^ ^^^ 


There are two noticeable features which have not been men- 
tioned. Over the doorways of the southern court facades there 
is a representation of an aboriginal hut with the statue of the 
divinity seated within the hut, and a strange outre looking or- 
nament, called the " Manitou face," above the hut, the diamond 
lattice-work and vertical columns being sculptured in stone on 
either side of the hut. This hut, taken in connection with the 
general arrangement of the apartments and the resemblance to 
the rude wooden buildings described by Bartram as belonging 
to the great houses of the Muscogees, convinces us that the 


beginnings of the architecture of the two regions were not far 

The same lesson may be drawn from the view of the palace 
of Palenque, though this palace was much more elaborate in 
its style of construction and general finish than anything found 
in the Mississippi valley. Its broad stairways, its many halls 
and courts, the curved surface of the roofs, the height of the 
tower, the truncated pyramid supporting it, the apartments or 
galleries with walls of stone, the corridors which surround the 
apartments and affording communication to the interior, the 
sculptured figures on the front of the corridors and the facades 
of the palaces, are all in strong contrast with the rude wooden 
apartments which constituted the chief features of the great 
house, and yet the general arrangement of the buildings and 
the use made of the apartments are so similar as to suggest the 
same customs, habits and social organizations. 

This is the point which is impressed upon us by the study 
of these rude structures which formerly abounded in the Gulf 
States, as compared with those which were discovered by the 
Spanish conquerors in Mexico and Central America. We see 
in them the stages through which the architecture of the New 
World struggled, the very beginnings being presented by the 
uncivilized but sedentary tribes, the highest aims and triumphs 
being presented in the works of the more civilized races. 

The shape of the "great houses" and the arrangement 
of these houses around a square court, was the same 
among the tribes of the Gulf coast as among the Aztecs 
and other tribes of Mexico. The "great houses" among 
the latter are often called "palaces." They were very 
elaborate and striking in their sculptured ornamentation 
and in the massive cornices and lofty combs which arose 
above the roof. They were constructed of stone and are 
full of all manner of sculpture. They are approached 
by wide stairways, which are also lined with sculptured 
figures, yet so great is the similarity between them and 
the so-called "great houses" of the southern tribes that 
we naturally go to these to learn what were the early 
stages of this style of architecture. Bartram says: 

"The great or public square generally stands alone in the center or 
highest part of the town. It consists of four square or cubical buildings of 
one story in height, ot the same dimensions, and so situated as to form an 
exact tetragon, There is a passage at each corner, of equal width. Each 
building is constructed of a wooden frame fixed strongly in the earth and 
neatly plastered with clay mortar. One of these buildings is properly the 
council house, where the Mico,chiefs and warriors, with the citizens, assem- 
ble every day in council to hear, decide and rectify all grievances, com- 
plaints and contentions, give audience to ambassadors and strangers and 
hear news from distant towns, allies, or distant nations. This building is 
different from the other three, as a partition wall longitudinally placed from 
end to end divides it into two apartments, the back apartment totally dark. 

26 5 

making a secluded place, designed as a sanctuary, dedicated to religion or 
priestcraft. Here are deposited all the sacred things, as the medicine pot, 
rattles, deers' hoofs, calumet or peace pipe, the imperial standard, made of 
the feathers of the white eagle's tail, curiously formed and displayed like 
■an open fan on a staff, pamled or tinged with vtrmillion in the time of war. 

The other three buildings which compose the square are furnished with 
three ranges of cabins or sofas, and serveas a banqueting house and shelter, 
to accommodate the audience and spectators at all times, particularly at 
feasts or public entertamments, where all classes of citizens resort day and 
night in the summer or moderate season." 

•'The pillars and walls of the houses of the square are decorated with 
various paintings and sculptures, which I suppose lo be hieroglyphic, and 
an historic legendary of political and sacerdotal affairs, but they were ex- 
tremely picturesqe as caricatures: as men in a variety of attitudes, some ludi- 
crous enough, others having the head of some kind of animal, as those of a 
duck, turkey, bear, fox, wolf, buck, etc.; and again, other creatures are rep- 
resented having the human head. These designs are not ill executed. 
The pillars supporting the front or piazza of the council house of the square, 
are ingeniously carved in the likeness of vast speckled serpents ascending 

The similarity between the house construction and orna- 
mentation of the southern tribes and that of the tribes in 
Mexico and Central America is noticeable but is difificult to 
account for, except on the supposition that there was a con- 
tract between the two people and that the same general sys- 
tem of government and distinction of classes existed in the 
two regions. We present here two cuts representing columns 
at Tulan in Mexico and at Chicheu-Itsa-Guatemuala. The 
first was a simple shaft ornamented with feathers, the 
base representing a serpent's head. The second has a capitol 
which is ornamented with human figures but supports an en- 
tablature and heavy cornice. These present the same con- 
ception which was recognized by Bartram in the houses of the 
Muskogees, especially those which were occupied by the rub'ng 
classes. They show how the ethnic styie of oue country was 
introduced into another, but upon the whole, confirm the 
position taken. 

This custom of placing the houses of the ruling classes on 
the summit of truncated pyramids, and around public square 
or courts, is distinctive of a state of society in which the many 
are controlled by a few. Such a state does not often exist 
among the hunters and savages, but generally appears among 
the agriculturists; though, on the northwest coast, the fisher- 
men who w^ere gathered in permanent villages, exhibit these 
different grades and ranks. The Southern or Muskogee tribes 
were the earliest, or the most primitive, to show this condition, 
but the tribes of the southwest carried it to great extremes. 

III. Another illustration of the prevalence of ethnic styles 
can be found in the various structures which formerly ex- 
isted on the great plateau of the west, where the form of house 
construction is entirely different from that found anywhere else, 
aud where also the style of house ornamentation is in the 
greatest contrast This was, as every one knows, the home 


of the Pu=blosand the Cliff-Dwellers, but it is also a locality 
where a peculiar ethnic type of architecture is to be seen. The 
question is, How did this arise? Was it owing to the influence 
of environment, or did it arise from the social organization, 
combined with the mythology which had been inherited from 
an unknown ancestry. These people have long dwelt in the 
arid regions of the west, isolated and separated from the 
rest of the world, but they have developed in their isolation a 
mode of construction which is peculiar to the region, and 
totally unknown anywhere ehe in the world. They do not 
present any very high stage of architecture, nor any very 
advanced stage of art, but their method of constructing their 
houses and their style of decoratingtheir interiors as well as their 



style of ornamenting their pottery and works of art, are very 

The snake dances of the Moquis, the sand paintings of the 
Navajos, and the house decoration and personal ornamentation 
of the Zunis, are well known, still there were so many archi- 
tectural features contained in those ruined villages, which con- 
stituted the abodes of the strange people called Cliff-dwellers, 
that there is a demand for a close study of their works. In the 
cliffs there were towers for defense; estufas for religious assem- 
blies; many storied houses for the dwelling places of the peo- 
ple; balconies for their loitering place; behind the houses were 
courts in which the children might play, and open places where 


pottery was manufactured and where looms were set up; and 
farther back, under the cliffs, was the burying place for their 
dead, while hidden away in the niches of the rocks were the 
storehouses where they placed their grain; and above all were 
the loophole forts, from which the warriors shot their arrows 
into the bands of wild Indians, who were lurking in the valleys, 
and were constantly attacking them in their chosen places of 
refuge. When we consider all the dangers, and the difficulties 
with which the}' contended, we conclude that ihey did not fall 
far short of many of the cultivated races of the earth, even in the 
departments of art and architecture. It is especially worthy of 
notice, that all the buildings which have been discovered, 


whether in the high mesas and open places of the Pueblo coun- 
try, or in the deep canons and remote recesses in which the 
Cliff-dwellers made their refuge, that there was one particular 
type, or style, which they wrought out for themselves, without 
aid or suggestion from any source, except that which came 
from the study of their natural surroundings and the exercise 
of their own powers. It seems certain, to us, that if any people 
deserve the credit for having developed an ethnic type of 
architecture and art, these comparatively uncultured and strange 
people, whom we call the Cliff-dwellers, are the most deserving. 
There is very little ornamentation to be seen in the build- 
ings of the Cliff-dwellers or Pueblos. A simple dado around 
the inner rooms, and the use of different colored plaster, con- 
stituted about all of the ornamentation that was used. When, 
however, we come to the religious ceremonies and observan- 

• The Cliff Palace contained a tower for defense at one end, eitnfas in the middle, a lint ot 
Uiree-story bouses in the front, and an open court in the rear, the whole overshadowed by th* 
■helving rock but protected by the steep cliff below. 



ces, we find an im;ii^nse amount of orna-nent itioa; all of i t 
grotesque, outre and bizarre. So whimsical is the costume of 

the performers in the sacred 
dances of the Tusayans, Mo- 
quis, and the Zunis, that they 
impress the visitor very 
strangely. They, ho w ever, 
embody the mythology of the 
people, and represent the va- 
rious creatures which are spo- 
ken of in it. There are, also, 
many so-called altars, which 
contain a vast amount of sym- 
bolism. These have been de- 
scribed by the various parties 
who have visited the pueblos 
— Dr. Washington Matthews, Mr. F. H. Gushing, J. Walter 
Fewkes, and others. 

Dr. Fewkes classifies the altars under two groups: those ar- 
ranged on the floor of the kiva, and those forming the uprights 
of a vertical frame-work. The former include the following 
objects: tiponis, effigies or idols, and medicine bowls. The 
tiponis are the badges of the relig- 
ious fraternities, and constitute the 
•'palladium" of the clan. They are 
totemic in character, but also contain 
symbols of food, and of seed, which 
constitute the sustenance of the agri- 
cultural people. Generally, an ear 
of corn, with appropriate wrappings 
and feathers, is very conspicuous. 
The idols represent the sky and earth 
gods, and are male and female. Ev- 
ery clan had a great sky-god, and an 
earth-god or goddess, the former be- 
ing the father, and the latter the 
mother of all the minor gods. The 
medicine bowl and other objects, are 
generally placed in front of the altar, 
on a low pile of sand, upon which are 
drawn six or eight lines of sacred 
meal, representing the six directions. 
On each of these lines of meal is 
an ear of corn, of the color cor- 


FooTNOTB. — Lieut. Simpson has described, in his report, the piinting upon the walli of an 
•ttnfa, at Jemez, and gave three or tour plates. In one of these there are two deer, gracefnlly 
depicted, painted in blue; in another, there are several birds painted in blue and bro wn, whil« 
shields are painted in red, green and white. In another, a large squash-vine is painted in blue, 
with a dark back ground; and, in another, there are several foxes painted in blue, two or *^'*« 
daer painted in' red and white, all against a dark back ground.— Sea Reports of Sbc. or War, 
Jnljr •4th, 1850. 


responding to the directions or points of the compass— north, 
yellow; west, blue or green; south, red; east, white; above, 
black; below, speckled. Alternating with these ears of corn, 
are efifigies of birds and butterflies, also painted with different 
colors — yellow, blue, red, white, black, variegated. A very 
common symbol is the one which represents the rain-cloud 
(Omavvuh). an arch symbolizing the cloud; perpendicular lines 
representing the falling rain; zigzag markings representing the 

There are often paintings and engravings upon the rocks, 
which sho»v the artistic taste of the Cliff-dwellers. In these 
paintings, the figure of a hand is very conspicuous. Some of 
their house paintings contain the traditions, and an account of 


the wanderings of the people, and furnish legendary evidence 
of the combination of several tribes in one great village. They 
furnish the only clue to the history. 

The work upon "The Cliff-Dwellers," which has already been 
published, illustrates this point, and it does not need to be 
dwelt upon here ; but there are a few facts which should be 
brought out, and set in a new light. It is acknowledged by all, 
that the pattern vvhich was adopted by the Pueblos in building 
tneir "great houses," was borrowed from the shape of the 
mesas on which they built them; the terraces with which they 
abounded, being close imitations of the terraces which were 
seen in the cliffs. It is also acknowledged that the pattern 
which the cliff-dwellers followed in constructing their kivas, 
or religious assembly places, they took from the primitive hut 


which constituted their primeval abode. This hut was evi» 
dently constructed out of wood, and was supported by posts; 
and was entered from the top, just as the huts of the California 
Indians are today. But along with this primeval pattern, there 
were introduced elements which, to them, became the symbols 
of the great house, whose roof consisted of the dome of the 
sky, whose floor was the surface of the earth, and whose sup- 
ports or posts consisted of the six great pillars which their 
mythology taught them, were the supports of the sky. Still 
further, they made the opening in the floor of the kivas. which 
they called the "sipapuh," to represent the "place of emer- 
gence," through which their ancestors, according to their in- 
herited mythology, came up through the different caves in 
which they had formerly dwelt. The roof of the cave was sym- 
bolized by the roof of the kiva; the sidesof the cave, by the walls 

of the kivas; and the 

openingthrough which 

they reached the upper 

surface, by the "sipa- 

puh"in the floor of the 

kiva. We have, then, 

a double symbolism in 

this simple structure 

which was used as the 

assembly place of the 


council house of the 

clan chiefs, as well as 

the sleeping place for 

the men of the entire 

village, the world above 

and the world below being both symbolized. 

There was a grandeur in the scenery about them, and an 
influence coming to them, from the shadowy cliffs below, which 
evidently impressed their senses and filled their souls with a 
reverence for the unseen divinities. One cannot look upon 
these many storied houses, kivas and courts, built upon the 
ledge of the rock, and covered with the overhanging cliff which 
formed the only roof of the houses, without thinking of the 
shadow of fear which constantly haunted them, and realizing 
that they were, after all, like fugitives who were fleemg from a 
cruel and relentless enemy. 

The ethnic style was drawn from the cliffs and niesas, but 
the form of construction was gained from their necessities as 
well as from the unconscious influence of the surroundings. 
The architecture of the Pueblos and Cliff Dwellers is very in- 
structive in this respect; it shows that the material which was 
used was owing to the abundance of stone; the manner of con- 
structing their houses and terraces was copied after the cliffs 



and mesas; the manner of arranging the houses and rooms was 
such that a dead wall would always be presented to those who, 
whether friendly or hostile, approached the village; but the 
manner of the arranging of the rooms of the houses, one above 
the other, placing the storerooms in the lower stories and the 
rooms of the chiefs on the upper stories, was owing to the com- 
munistic system which prevailed among them. The originality 
of this style of architecture came, in reality, from the teach- 
ings of nature combined with a unique system of society which 
prevailed among them. There may be certain analogies be- 
tween these so-called communistic houses, which were built 
after the honeycomb pattern, to the so-called palaces which 
prevailed among the nations of the southwest, in Mexico and 
Central America; but the differences are so many more than 
the resemblances, that we are forced to believe that there could 
have been no connection between them when they were first 
erected, and no borrowing from one another at any time. The 
ethnic type was one which originated in the very locality in 
which it appears. 

These Pueblos, when seen from a distance, on the summit 
of the mesas, appear like ancient castles, but as we come nearer 
we find that they are not castles at all, for there are no iron- 
bound gates, no grated windows, and no dark passages, which 
suggest tragic stories or romantic adventures; and yet they are 
castles, for they were, at one time, the places of refuge to a 
people who were constantly beset by enemies, and who had to 
protect themselves from the midnight attacks of the foe who 
Lrked in the shadows of the forest, or in the secret places 
among the rocks. Inside of these castles the scene was very 
peaceful, for here dwelt the different clans and families of a 
tribe, the families having all things in common, and sharing 
the different apartments; the village cacique, who occupied the 
upper apartment, being like a father to the household; and 
the village officers, who superintended the work and directed 
the employments, being like elder brothers of the family. 

This pueblo territory, which was fringed on its borders by 
the strange abodes of the Cliff-dwellers, presents, as we have 
said, a very peculiar form of house construction, and a peculiar 
style of ornamentation. But there were districts surrounding 
it, in which we find a style of constructing houses very different 
in all its features, the difference being due to the ethnic taste 
of a people who belonged to another stock, or race. We have 
not the space here to dwell upon these differences, and shall 
only refer to the few illustrations which are furnished herewith. 
It will be noticed that, upon the Gila River, which flows around 
the southern and western borders of the Pueblo territory, there 
are certain great structures, in rectangular forms, which resem- 
ble massive temples more than they do fortresses, though they 
are called castles. Another distinct tvpe is also presented, in 


the province of Sonora, the first having received from the Span- 
ish the name of Casa Grande, the other the name of Ca'^as 
Grandes, the singular and the plural, suggesting the main dif- 
ference between them. Still farther south, amid the mountains 
of Sonora, are deep valleys, on the sides of which are hidden 
a number of houses, which are quite different from those be- 
fore described. The style of the storehouses and the shape of 
the abodes present features which are not seen anywhere else" 


IV. The best illustrations of the ethnic types of architecture, 
are found among the so-called civilized races of the southwest. 
These races were divided, as every one knows, into two or 
three great stocks, of which the Nahuas and Mayas are the 
chief, though the Aztecs and Toltecs are among the latest rep- 
resentatives. The general opinion is, that there were only two 
styles of architecture to be found in this entire region— one of 
them represented by the various cities of Mexico; the other, 

by the cities farther south, in 



Yucatan, Guatemala and 
Honduras; but recent explo- 
rations are showing that there 
was here a great variety in the 
method of construction, as 
well as in styles of ornament- 
ation, as each tribe, or collec- 
tion of tribes, had a stj-le 
peculiar to itself, exactly as did those on the northwest 
coast, and in the Mississippi valley. This will be seen by com- 
paring the ruins at Xochicalco, near the City of Mexico, with 
those at Mitla; and again, by comparing those at Mitla with 
the ruins at Papantla and Mayapan, all of them situated in 
provinces of Mexico. And these, in turn, should be compared 
with the ruins at Palenque, Uxmal and Chichen-Itza. which 
were cities situated in Honduras and Guatemala. There are 
also ruined cities in Yucatan, Salvador and Nicaragua, which 
differ from all the others before mentioned. Here, also, the 
strangest idols, and nondescript animal figures, are found north 
of that line. 

Now, it is noticeable that among the Aztecs and other 
tribes of Mexico and Central America, there are many of those 


mythologic figures which are made up of a variety of human 
faces and forms, mingled with figures of the serpent and other 
nondescript creatures, all of which are sculptured on the 
facades of the palaces, the statues of the kings and queens be- 
ing placed in the courts in front of the palaces, with altars 
near them. The statues represented, not merely the form and 
features of the king or queen, but even the ornaments with 
which they were adorned while living, and various parts of the 
gorgeous apparel and headdresses which they wore, all boldly 
represented in the figures, which are carved with the utmost 
skill and accuracy into the stone pillars. The ornamentation 
of the facades and the portrait columns are also finished in 
the highest style of aboriginal art. 

The ancient inhabitants of Mexico had methods of orna- 


menting their houses which are worthy of study. There are 
many ancient ruins in this region, whose facades present a great 
variety of sculptured figures Some of them present the shapes 
of serpents and nondescript animals, which were the products 
of their mythology. The ancient palace at Xochicalco, is es- 
pecially noted for its sculptures. This has been described by 
various explorers, the latest being Mr. M. H. Saville. There 
are ^Iso ancient ruins at Teotihuacan, which contain houseswith 
large and elaborate suites of apartments, all of them well built 
and highly ornamented. Prof. Starr has described one of these 
houses, as follows: 

•' The walls were covereJ w ith elaborate paintings, representing human 
beings, in fine garments and gorgeous headdresses. The colors used are 
green, red, pink, orange and brown. The most important figure maybe 
seen in the cut; here we have a warrior, carrying a shield and weapons, 
terminating at the lower ends with balls, painted green; the shafts painted 


green and pink; the shield, green and yellow; the right hand grasps a 
curious dagger, painted yellovv, and held vertically. On the liead the war- 

riur wears large ear or- 
naments and a head- 
dress, ending in agreat 
crest of feathers, the 
central parts of which 
are painted green. The 
most elaborate paint- 
ings are on the south- 
ern wall of this room; 
two figures are repre- 
sented, veiy similar in 
all respects. They face 
an altar which stands 
between them; the al- 
tar consists of a base 
in rose and red, with 
a streak of yellow; the 
upper part is an orna- 
mental disc of pink, 
red, white and yellow, 
the whole design bor- 
dered at the sides with 
ornamental bands. Of 
the standing figures,, 
the faces, hands and 
legs are painted yel- 
low; the headdresses 
of feathers are large, 
and ,in white or pale 
pink. A great coil of 
yellow proceeds from 
the mouth of each, with 
nodes on the coils; 
these probably repre- 
sented speech. On the 
left hand is clasped a 
pendant object, which 
may represent offer- 
infifs. painted in pink, 
white and red." 


V. We see in these paintings a style of decoration which 
was common among the Toltecs, for the)' are found at Teoti- 
huacan which is supposed to have been an ancient ToltCv. city. 
There was however another style which prevailed farther sotith 
in the region of Guatemala, Honduras and Yucatan and was 
common among all the Maya tribe.s. It consisted not so 
much in the decorating of the interior as in the ornamenting 
of the exteriors by sculptured figures in stone. Illustrations 
of the first are found in the ruined cities of Uxmal, Chichen- 
Itza, Kabah, Labna Zayi and of the latter mainly at Palenque 
There are also in these cities many architectural features which 
are worthy of notice as nearly all of the buildings are finished 
with heavy cornices, wide entablatures, columns which are 
placed in clusters at the corners of the buildings, the sides of 
the doors, and often-times between the door-ways. The most 
of them are without capital or bases but are ornamented with 






bands at the centre and ^ome of them with a sculptured base 
and top. These columns are found mainly in the palaces and 
form an interesting feature in the facades of these great build- 
ings which were placed in a quadrangular form and some- 
ti mes placed on terraces which arose one above the other and 
were furnished with a high tower which made them appear 
very imposing. 

The palaces also have their facades decorated with a 
complicated series of carving which are difficult to describe 
The most singular object is that which has been called the 
elephant's trunk, though it more resembles an ornament which 
is common in lapan. Illustrations are numerous. Here, in 

one place, at 
Chichen-Itza, a 
temple-with its 
front a mass of 
intricate c arv- 
ing, placed high 
upon a terraced 
mound — oxer- 
looked the en- 
tire collection 
of dwellings. 
Along each 
front of this 
high mound, ex- 
tended the un- 
dulating body of 
a huge serpent, 
carved out of 
blocks of stone. 
High upon the 
platform of the 
temple rested 
the tail, while 
the gigantic 
head, with jaws 
wide open and 
forked tongue extended, lay menacingly upon the level plain 
at the base of the mound. At one side, an immense terrace 
supported a massive structure, over three hundred feet long, 
of many turns and angles. It was a gigantic mosaic of marble 
and limestone. The rooms were narrow and windowless, but 
the entire front wascovered with richly carved stonework, 

"^he difference between the decorations at Labna and Kabah are very marked. At Laba« 
there is a serpent effigy, with open jaws and a human face in the jaws, projecting beyond th« 
cornice, and forming a part of '.he characteristic hook, while behind the jaw, and above and b«- 
l»w the serpent, are scrolls, palm leaves, Greek fret, rosettes, and other ornaments, while below 
the cornice are banded columns, and open doorways with pier and liotel. On the other Hand, 
at Kabah there are fragments of the usual hooks, tut the figures between them farm a compli- 
cated network which resembles the pattern, which is often used in the drapery of the better 
classes, though the figures may have been designed for symbols. 



over which was placed a thin coat of hard stucco, gh'stening 
white and shining like silver, The flat roof was covered with 
the same material, and from the eaves projected gargoyles of 
grotesque type. 

The hook at Kabah, extends out from the corner of the build- 
ing, making a unique feature to the architectural decoration, and 
one that is characteristic of this region. There is also at Labna, 
in Yucatan, a mound forty-five feet high, which suj. ports a build- 
ing 20x30 feet, on which is a row of death's heads, two lines of 
human figures in high relief, an immense human figure, seated, 
also a ball or globe supported by a man kneeling on one knee, 
and by another man standing at its side. All the figures are 
painted in bright colors, and present the most curious and ex- 
traordinary appearance. Near by is a terrace 400 feet long 
and 150 feet wide, which supports a building of two receding 
stories, with a front of 282 feet. This front is elaborately 
sculptured, and presents three distinct styles in as many por- 
tions of the wall. At the corner is the open rriouth of an alli- 
gator, from which looks out a human face; back of this corner 
are scrolls and palm leaves, and decorations resembling the 
Ro?na?i key ; and below it, the series of columns clustered to- 
gether, with bands around the center and at the bottom; the 
doorways were divided by a heavy column, with a square block 
for a capitol, with two lintels resting upon the block for sup- 

The palaces at Xkichmook, about fifty miles east of Cam- 
peche. have been explored by Edward H. Thompson, for the 
Field Columbian Museum. Of these, two of the edifices 
are represented in the plates, which have been kindly loaned. 
The palace appears to be the result of successive periods of 
growth; all of the chambers are finished in the usual style; the 
roof is vaulted with the Maya arch; there is a tower in the cen- 
ter, with a wide staircase in front of it; the cornice on the tower 
and on the palace proper, correspond in style, There are the 
remains of columns in the facade, and shorter columns in the 
entablature. Another palace, resembling this, has also many 
columns, but they are of a different type, and show a variation 
in style. 






It is well known that the American continent contains the 
traces of a civilization which existed here long before the advent 
of the white man. What that civilizations was and what its 
position in the ranks of the other civilization of the world is an 
important question. It was the impression at the time of the 
discovery that there was, hidden away in the interior of this con- 
tinent, a civilization which was quite equal to that which prevailed 
in most of the European countries. The ancient cities which 
were then discovered were compared to the cities of the eastern 
hemisphere. This impression was produced by the reports of 
the conquerors and by the testimony of the historians, and was 
not lessened as the conquests proceeded. It appears that new 
regions were opened before the conquerors and new cities were 
discovered, each city yielding an untold amount of gold and 
silver, and astonishing the people with the magnificent specimens 
of art and architecture which they presented. It was indeed a 
tale of wonder and one which excited the greatest surprise 
throughout the whole of Europe: first, Mexico, with its wonder- 
ful mountain lakes, its floating gardens, its streets and bridges, 
its magnificent palaces, its lofty pyramids and many temples; 
next, Yucatan, with its ancient cities, its tropical verdure, and its 
many and varied scenes; next, Peru, with its marvelous display 
of gold and other treasures, its populous villages, its paved, far- 
reaching roadways, its powerful system of government, its 
wonderful Inca dynasty. It was an era of romance and adven- 
ture. The world was ready to receive strange tidings, was glad 
to hear the tales of wonder which followed in close succession. 
The impression which was formed so early did not soon die 
away. The testimony of the historians seemed to confirm it, each 
new author adding to the story some marvelous feature. The 
impression has continued almost to the present day, and modern 
historians have thought to vie with the early writers in their 
descriptions of the magnificence which then prevailed. It was 
only during the present generation that any doubts arose as to 

the truthfulness or accuracy of these accounts; but when they 
arose a literary reaction took place and many have been inclined 
to go to the opposite extreme. This tendency has also been 
increased by certain scientific writers, who have been disposed to 
look upon the accounts of the Spanish historians as altogether 
imaginative, and have endeavored to reduce everything to a plain 
matter-of-fact and ordinary condition, such as might correspond 
with their own theories of the civilizations of the continent. These 
writers have considered the populations of America to be all the 
same, calling them all Indians, and have reduced all the systems 
of government and all the conditions of society under one gen- 
eral class, which with its variations might be in accord with the 
communistic state and the clan life. Thus we have the two ex- 
tremes It will be our endeavor in this paper to so balance the 
probabilities and weigh the evidence as to decide which of these 
two classes of writers is the more correct, and to ascertain what 
the truth is concerning the ancient civilizations of this continent. 
While so doing we shall avoid the descriptions of the historians 
and the speculations of the scientific theorists, and shall seek 
evidence from an entirely different source: namely, the testimony 
of the monuments. It is well known that new monuments have 
been discovered and that the old monuments have been studied 
anew, and much additional testimony has been furnished, so that 
if there were no other reason than this, this of itself would be 
sufficient for us to go over the ground and take again the testi- 
mony of the monuments. So many explorations have occurred 
during the last thirty and forty years that we can not ignore 
them, but must take the descriptions which have been furnished 
by the explorers, and see whether they confirm or refute the 
testimony of the historians. The testimony which we shall 
specially examine will be that which comes under the department 
of which we are treating: namely, primitive architecture. We 
are to examine the prehistoric monuments to ascertain what their 
testimony is in reference to architecture. Is it the architecture 
of a civilized race which they present? If so, what is the posi- 
tion as compared with the architecture of other civilized races? 
If compared with that of the prehistoric and uncivilized, what 
rank or parade did it reach ? With what age is it to be compared? 
What style does it represent ? What are its peculiarities ? 

We turn then to the monuments for our evidence. The 
point which we make is that the monuments furnish a sure index 
of the civilization, for they not only show the position which was 
reached by the art and architecture, but also the grade of culture 
which was reached by the people. Our manner of treating the 
subject will be by comparison. We are to compare the prehis- 
toric monuments of this country with those of the historic races 
of the Old World, but we are to take only those which belong 
to the civilizations of both countries. There is one thing notice- 


able about the monuments of America: they overlap the early- 
stages of the civilizations of historic lands, and they show after 
close examination exactly the stage or grade which was reached 
in this country during the prehistoric times. 

We shall first take the monuments of all sections and races 
in America, comparing those of the civilized with those of the 
uncivilized races, with a view of ascertaining the difference be- 
tween them. We shall next take the monuments of the civilized 
races in America and compare these with the works of the civil- 
ized races in the Old World, with the view of tracing the 
resemblances. Our main effort will be to show the position which 
the American civilization holds among the ancient civilizations 
of the world. 

One point which we shall consider is that there was more 
difference between the ty^pes of civilization in America than some 
are inclined to admit. We are to remember that the American 
continent embraced peoples of very different grades and charac- 
ter. The Aztecs, Toltecs, Nahuas and Mayas were of a different 
stock from most of the northern tribes of Indians, although the 
name Indian has been applied to all. As to the source from 
which these different races or tribes may have come or the date 
at which they migrated we are not able to speak intelligently, for 
these are still involved in obscurity. 

It is also worthy of note that there are as great differences in 
the architecture of America as in the Old World, We learn 
this from the study of the monuments here as well as there. The 
monuments of Europe, Asia and Africa all convince us that 
civilization developed in different lines, and embodied differ- 
ent ethnic qualities , so do the monuments of America. The 
development may not have been as marked nor did it reach as 
high a stage, yet so far as it did reach it convinces us that there > 

were distinct lines. It is well known that the historic nations of ^ 

the Old World all had an architecture of their own — an archi- 
tecture which was marked by ethnic peculiarities, so we may say 
that the nations and races of America had. The nations of the 
Old World have given their names to their architecture; and we 
have the Chaldean, the Assyrian, the Egyptian, the Hellenic, the 
Etruscan and the Italian styles. The American nations have not 
given any name, and yet we have terms which distinguish the 
works from one another, and these may be regarded as equivalent. 
The names are not as dignified nor as honored, and yet they are 
expressive. The prehistoric monuments have already been 
classified according to these names, and the Indian, the Alound- 
builder, the Pueblo, the Aztec, the Nahua, the Maya, and the 
Peruvian style of building have all been recognized. The early 
stages of architecture in the Old World were marked by dissim- 
ilarities, and they can be traced back to causes which prevailed 
in prehistoric times. In America the architecture is nearly all of 


it prehistoric, but the dissimilarities are here to be observed in 
the early and primitive as well as in the later or more advanced 
stages. In the Old World we go from one country to another 
and trace the correlation between the architecture and the geo- 
o-raphical surroundings and physical environments, and say that 
climate, soil, means of subsistence, employment and social status, 
all had their mfluence upon the architecture. 

In America, however, we have the same correlation ; each 
district and each native race had an architecture of its own ; an 
architecture which was influenced by the environment. It 
might also be said to present a picture of the native cult as well 
as the social status. It was not only true that different grades 
of art and architecture appeared in different parts of the coun- 
try, but different ideas and traits were embodied in them. The 
geographical surroundings and the physical environm.ents had 
much to do with this, the growth of architecture on the continent 
having obeyed the laws of development as well as the necessities 
of the people. We have on this account no less than five differ- 
ent styles of architecture ; each style being suggestive of a differ- 
ent social grade as well as of a different mode of life. The em- 
ployments varied according to the means of subsistence and these 
were influenced by the geographical surroundings ; but the primi- 
tive architecture partook of all. 

The same story is repeated here that may be read in the early 
architecture of the east ; the sand plains of Chaldea, the dry 
climate of Egypt, the rock-beds of Assyria, the deep forests and 
mountainous coasts of Asia Minor, the sunny fountains of the 
Hellenic regions, the snowy heights of Etruria, and the gentle 
hills on the banks of the Tiber, were all crov/ned with monu- 
mental structures which indicated the life employment, social 
status, and ethnic tastes of the people. It is so in America ; the 
ice-fields in the north, the deep forests of the interior, the fertile 
prairies of the east, the rocky mountains and deep canyons of 
the west, the sunny heights and sand plains of the south were 
all covered with the works of the prehistoric races which differed 
as much as those of the historic. 

There were, to be sure, several grades of civilization in this coun- 
try, and these overlapped as many grades in the Old World. Yet 
we may by comparison ascertain the limits of each, and we may 
find also the stages of civilization which were correlated to these 
grades. It is plain that civilization here passed beyond the 
earliest stages discovered elsewhere, and that it reached a posi- 
tion which entitled it to stand alongside with that found among 
some ot the more advanced of the ancient kingdoms of the Old 
World. There are indeed some features of it which seem very 
rude, and if we were to confine ourselves to these we should say 
that civilization here was at a very low stage, but there are other 
features which carry it on to a high degree, and if we dwelPupon 


these we shall be convinced that it was at an advanced stage. 
The question of time is not to be considered, but only the ques- 
tion of degree. In time,, the civilizations of the Old World 
ante-dated by many centuries those of the New World, the earliest 
rise having been there as early as 2300 B. C; but here perhaps 
not earlier than 600 years after Christ, a lapse of nearly three 
thousand years being found between them. As to the styles of 
architecture, however, we may conclude that the early stage which 

Fill. l~Tciiiple of Muyhcir. 

was represented by the Chaldean empire has its correlative 
among the monuments of America, but at the same time the 
stage which was reached by some of the later Assyrian mon- 
archies has also its correlative. There is significance in this 
fact. The civilization of the New World had a much more rapid 
growth than that of the Old World, and yet it seems to have 
been a growth which was independent and in a parallel line, but 
separated and isolated. • 

I. We begin with the earliest stage and take the pyramid as the 
structure which represents it. There are pyramids in America 
as well as in oriental countries. V/e therefore have a good 
opportunity for comparison. The pyramids of America may 
not be as old as those of Egypt or Chaldea, and yet they are 
nearly as primitive, and so illustrate the primitive stage of arch- 
itecture. We shall first take up the pyramids of the Old World 
and show the differences between them as well as the resem- 


blances, and then compare the American with them. The first 
specimen will be the famous Temple of Mugheir, which is said to 
date back to the times of Abraham, and even before. Fig. i. 
According to Rawlinson it was dedicated to the sun divinity, and 
was first founded by King Urukh 2230 B. C, the name Ur being 
suggestive of the Biblical Ur of the Chaldees. The kernel of 
this solid structure is of sun-dried bricks ; the face is divided by 
buttresses. There are the remainsof a terrace, which consists of 
two oblong steps, the lowest measuring 60x40 metres, 12 metres in 
height, standing upon a platform six metres above the surround- 
ing country. This is the oldest temple in the world. It is 

Fig. 2.— Temple of Borsippa. 

supposed that the Chaldean temple consisted of a simple and 
massive terrace, crowned by a chapel and richly decorated with 
gold ornaments ; the sides plainly buttressed and solid through- 
out. The next specimen is that given in the cut which represents 
the Temple of Borsippa, which tradition makes the same as the 
tower of Babel ; though it was frequently rebuilt, Nebuchadnez- 
zar completing the structure, called it the Temple Pyramid of the 
Seven Spheres. See Fig. 2. 

This immense hill of rubbish stands entirely isolated in the 
desert. It has a lower circumference of 685 metres. It is un- 
certain whether it was all artificial or whether a natural elevation 
was selected on which to erect a terraced temple. It appears 
that it was a temple devoted to sun-worship, as many of the 
terraced temples in Chaldea were. The dimension agrees toler- 
ably well with the six stadia given by Herodotus, as the measure 
of the first step of the terraced pyramid. There were regularly 
diminished seven steps in this pyramid, and upon the summit 


stood the small temple which was devoted to the sun divinity. 
Each of the seven terraces was dedicated to one of the seven 
planets and was characterized by its color — the upper, gold ; the 
second, silver; the next, red, blue, yellow, white, and the lowest 
black, according to the colors assigned to the sun, the moon, 
Mars, Mercury, Jupiter, Venus and Saturn."* 

The next specimen represents the pyramid of Meydoum,(see 
Fig. 3), a pyramid which was erected soon after the pyramid of 
Gizeh. It shows the manner of constructing pyramids in E:^ypt, 
namely in terraces, exactly as the pyramids of Assyria were 
constructed. There is to be sure a difference between them, in 
that the steps of the Assyrian pyramids are broader and farther 
apart than in the Egyptian. The difference is owing to the fact 

Fig. S— Pyramid of Mcydoum. 

that the object in Assyria was to erect a structure on which pro- 
cessions could ascend, and on the summit of which a shrine or 
temple could be constructed ; while in Egypt it was to construct 
a tomb in which their kings might be buried. The pyramids in 
America were in this respect more like the pyramids of Assyria 
or Chaldea. They were connected with palaces and were used 
as shrines and temples and for sacrificial purposes ; the kings 
having their abode in the palaces close by those of the priests. 

As to the manner of constructing the pyramids, there was a 
difference between the Chaldean and the Egyptian. The re- 
mains in ancient Chaldea are generally nothing more than form- 
less heaps of rubbish, many of which have not yet been opened; 
but enough of them have been opened to show the manner of 
their construction. In Egypt the pyramids were built of layers 
of solid stone with a large chamber in the center. In Chaldea 

*See History of Ancient Art, by Reber,|page 57. 


they were built of brick, and were solid throughout, making up 
by thickness of the masonry for the firmness lacking in the ma- 
terial. They further strengthened the massive walls, with a 
facing, or with buttress-like piers of burnt brick. The Chaldean 
temple consisted of a single massive temple of few steps, crowned 




(■ ^' 




by a chapel, which was richly decorated with colors and gold 
ornaments, with gold plating to represent the sun. In 
America the pyramid was built in terraces and may have bee 
solid throughout, though there are evidences that some of them 
contained arched chambers within the mass, and yet those which 
were solid had air-channels similar to those found in Chaldea. 
The specimen which we first select in America for comparison 


is that of Cholula. See Fig. 4. This is one of the largest and 
perhaps one the most ancient of the American pyramids. What 
is more, there is a tradition of the deluge connected with it. 
The method of constructing this pyramid was by terraces, the 
terraces being made on the sides of a natural hill, but the sum- 
mit crowned by an artificial pyramid and temple. We here call 
attention to the resemblance between the American and the 
Q-r-ldcnn pyramids. One peculiarity of the American pyramid 
was that it was partly natural and partly artificial. This was 
also the case with the Oriental pyramids. Reber says "that the 
terraced pyramids of Koyundjic was a terraced structure of three 
or four steps, situated upon a natural elevation." The lower 
terrace is decorated with pilasters in low relief. This is one of 
the earliest of the Oriental temples. 

Fig. 5— Pyramid at Copan. 

We refer to another specimen of an American pyramid to illus- 
trate this point. It is* a pyramid found in Peru— a pyramid 
built in terraces, the terraces on the side of a natural elevation. 
We do not claim this to have been a temple, for it was a fortress 
— the fortress of Huatica. Yet terraces on the side of the hill 
show how the pyramids in America are constructed. There is 
another heap of ruins in Peru, a cut of which we do not pre- 
sent. This was the temple of Pachacamac, twenty miles south 
of Lima. It was constructed of terraces and was devoted to the 
worship of a fish -god, and is said to have been resorted to by 
pilgrims from all parts of the coast. Some maintain that the 
Incas erected on the summit of this hill, a temple of the sun. 
There are rooms in this temple which are filled with enormous 
quantities of earth, though how it came to be there is unknown. 
The ruins are largely artificial, but it is supposed that the cen- 


tral core of them is natural, but that the terraced pyramids sus- 
tained or supported an ancient temple of magnificent proportions. 
Other specimens of American pyramids are found in widely 
separated localities and embrace structures which were devoted 
to very different uses, but they show the American peculiarities. 
The pyramids were used here for fortresses as well as for tem- 
ples. In fact pyramids sustained palaces as well as temples and 
both were regarded as fortresses. In Peru the differentiation 
may have been more marked, for there are pyramids which were 
used for fortresses, others for burial towers, and still others for 

Fig. 6— Pyramids of the Sun and Moon at Teotihuacan. 

temples, while in Central America they were all combined in 


Another point in connection with the pyramid in America is 
that in finish and elaborateness it was unexcelled by any of the 
pyramids of the Old World. The Egyptian pyramids were very 
plain structures. They were never covered with carving and 
never showed art or architecture at a high stage. The terraced 
pyramids of Assyria were much more advanced than these, but 
the pyramids themselves, if we leave off the palaces which were 
built upon them, were not at all equal to those in America. 

We give two specimens of perfect pyramids which have been 
found in America, namely, 'the pyramids of Copan and those 
at Teotihuacan; these we think compare with any of the Egyp- 
tian pyramids in symmetry and beauty, though they are not as 
large. Fig. 5 and 6. If, however, we were to restore the palaces 


which formerly stood near these pyramids and could show the 
broad path of the dead, so-called, lined with the elaborate struc- 
tures which have now disappeared, we should conclude that the 
American civilization was fully equal to the Egyptian at the time 
that the pyramids were built. These pyramids arc, however, not 
the best. There are pyramids at Tusapan and Papantla, which 
have their exteriors built up with seven terraces, each terrace 
having an elaborate cornice, with panels below the cornice. Tall 
buttresses also project from the terraces, forming a massive and 
elaborate finish to the whole structure. There is at Chichenltza 
also a pyramid which has a stairway running up its entire side, 
which in massiveness and breadth and elaborateness of detail is 
not exceled by any of the stairways of the Assyrian palaces. 
Charnay has spoken ol this pyramid and has given a new and 
interesting description of it. The same is true of the pyramid 
of Uxmal, at Tikal, Kabah, Izamal and several other places. The 
south side of the pyramid at Izamal is built up of stone, laid 
without mortar and rounded offat the corners.* On its side near 
the basement stands a gigantic face, which was reproduced by 
Stephens, 7 feet 8 inches high, the features rudely formed by 
small rough stones fixed in the side of the mound by mortar, and 
afterwards perfected by stucco. The pyramid at Ake has also a 
face, and has also in its side a colossal head 13 feet high, formed 
by rough stones coated over with mortar, and one of the finest 
bas-reliefs, its principal subject being a crouching tiger with a 
human head, reminding us of the order of knighthood in which 
the tiger had the pre-eminence. It would appear from this that 
the pyramid in America combined the massiveness and solidity 
of the Egyptian, the terraced form of the Chaldean, the walled 
and palace-crowned quality of the Assyrian, and at the same 
time embodied the carved specimens which resemble the sphinxes 
of Egypt, and sustained on their summits temples and palaces 
which remind us of the Medean and Persian. There is certainly 
nothing in all this to show that the American architecture was 
of an inferior or low grade, but there is everything to show that 
it was equal to that of the civilized races of the ancient mon- 
archies even in their most advanced stage. 

The style of the pyramids, however, does not fix the status of 
American civilization. There is evidence enough to show that 
the architecture of America passed beyond this elementary 
stage. We have dwelt upon the particulars only to show that 
there were elements or features which were like the early stages 
of architectures in the Old World. We now turn to consider 
the more adv^anced stages. We here find rememblances to the 
Assyrian style of building. It will, of course, be acknowledged 
that there was a similarity between the early Chaldean and the 

*See Reber's History of Ancient Cities, p. 30J. 


later Assyrian, but the Assyrian was much more advanced of 
the two. Rebcr says "that the difference arose chiefly from the 
superior material at the builders' disposal in Upper Mesopota- 
mia. The terraces of Assyria, like those of Chaldea, were 
solidly constructed of sun-dried bricks and stamped earth, but 
the neighboring mountains provided stone for the complete re- 
vetment of these masses with quarried blocks. Carefully hewn 
slabs existed upon the terrace platform of Sargon's palace, and 
upon the substructure of the pyramid of Nimrud, while there 
was rough Cyclopean stone-work employed in the construction 
of the city walls at Kisr-Sargon."'^ 

II. We next come to the walled structures of America. Here 
again we have all the variety which we find in the Old World, 

and we may believ^e 
that even these 
passed through 
many stages of de- 

I. We first con- 
sider the Cyclopean 
wall. We take this 
wall as the earliest 
found in America as 
well as in the East. 
See Fig. 7. This 
might be regarded 
as evidence of a very 
primitive type of 
architecture. It is 

Mrj. 7-Cyclopean Wall in Cuzco, Peru. generally SUppOSed 

to belong to the earlier ages. "Between the Tiber and the river 
Arno there existsextensive remains of Cyclopean masonry as well 
as walls of hewn and squared stones. The age of these works 
an usually be roughly estimated ; they are evidently of later anti- 
quity than the carefully fitted masonry, the irregular horizontal 
courses of unequal thickness which form the older Latin ram- 
parts, and these precede in point of time the exactly pointed 
blocks of the Servian walls of Rome."t 

There are many specimens of walls in America, which resemble 
those built by the Etruscans, Pelasgians and early Latins, though 
they had an entirely isolated history and cannot be traced to any 
other country. We give here a cut to illustrate this point. It 
is a wall found in Cuzco, Peru. See Figs. 8 and 9. This city, it 
appears, stands on the slopes of three hills. The ancient builders 
had to resort to extensive terracing in order to secure level sur- 
faces on which to build. These terraces, built in a substantial 

*See History of Ancient Art, by Reber, p, 62. 
tReber, History of Ancient Art, p. 4U. 


manner and faced with stone, are still standing in many places. 
It is a part of a fortress which was a remarkable structure. The 
walls support terraces, but they rose above the terraces so as to 
form a parapet, and yet they projected out at angles so as to form 
bastions. The height of the outer wall is at present 27 feet, the 


Fig. S— Terrace Walls in Fortress at Cuzco. 

width of the terrace 35 feet; the second wall is 18 feet high, 
terrace 18 feet wide; the third is 14 feet high. To prevent the 
accumulation of water, channels were cut through the walls at 
regular intervals. This structure constituted a citadel which over- 
looked the city of Cuzco. The height was very precipitous and 
the ascent difficult, but it was a place of resort in time of danfjer. 

There is another ex- 
ample of the Cyclopean 
wall in the Temple of 
the Sun at Cuzxo, which 
is the grandest structure 
in the region. The Cy- 
clopean wall forms the 
foundation for the tem- 
ple, but the temple itself 
is built of regular blocks 
of stone, with perpendic- 
ular walls and with the 
corners rectangular and 
perforated by windows, 
very similar to a modern building. The structure has been 
modified and now contains a balcony and arched windows and 
modern additions, three types of architecture in one building. 

In reference to the walled structures of America it would seem 

as if they gave a complete history of so-called wall-architecture. 

There are walled chambers or cists among the mounds, walled 

houses among the Cliff-dwellings, walled palaces and temples 

among the ruins of the ancient cities as well as the walled fort- 

Fig. 9 — Section of Terraces in Fortress at Cuzco. 


resses found in Peru. It is interesting to notice the v^ariety and 
at the same time to study out the various ages of development. 
We give cuts here to shovsr this point. The first represents a 
stone cist in a mound in Missouri. See Fig. lo. The second 
repjesenls different kmds of masonry in walls of the Cliff'- 
dwellers' houses. See Fig. ii. The third represents a wail 

found on the mesa in Colorado. Fig. 
12. It may be the remains of an old 
pueblo house. The fourth is the two- 
storied, walled house in the ruins on the 
island of Titicaca. The fifth is the 
structure at Uxmal called the Governor's 
House. These five cuts give us the 
different specimens of walls found on 
the continent of America, and represent 
the different grades of architecture 
prevalent, namely that of the Mound-—,s(onc oiM in a Mound builders, the Cliff-d wellers, the Pueblos, 
in3iis,ouri ^^^ Peruvians, the Central Americans. 

It will be noticed that as we ascend in the scale, the wall is 
more complete and finished; that of the civilized races of 
Central American being the most complete of all. This is seen 
in the manner of building the wall as well as in the material used. 
The Mound-builder used the flat stone which abounded in the 
region; his skill was exercised in making a square chamber 
out of stone laid up in a dry wall. The Cliff-dweller also 






Mg. 11 — Regular Masonry — Cliff-dweller's House. 

used ftat stone, such as was found in the vicinity; the layers 
m this wall varied according to the size of the stone; his 
skill was exercised in erecting so many square buildings on 
such ledges as were found in the cliffs, and in adapting the size 
and shape of the building to the surroundings. The Pueblo 
used ditlerent material; adobe, limestone, anything that was 
convenient, but his skill consisted in erecting walls which were 
thick and massive, so as to sustain heavy, many-storied build- 
ings. The Peruvian also used such material as was presented. 


His skill is shown in erecting finished buildint^s, buildings which 
contain doors and windows, and the various elements of archi- 
tecture which a re found in modern structures. The Central 
American excelled them all; he used rough, dressed stone for 
the lower part, but carved, wu'ought stone with cornices and 
entablatures and occasionally columns for the upper part. There 
are no very large stones in any of these buildings. The only 
structure in which large stones were used is the one in the cut 
which represents the wall in the southwest part of Colorado, 

Fig. 12.- 

and this was probably more a matter of 
convenience than a matter of skill. Tht 
masonry of America is in this respect in strong 
contrast with that of the Oriental countries, 
especially that of Egvpt, the peculiarity of 
which was that such massive blocks were used. 
We call attention to the temple at Carnac and to the tomb in 
the pyramid at Gizeh. In these the stones are all massive 
blocks, which must have required great strength to put in 
place. In the ancient wall in the temple at Jerusalem the stones 
are also large and heavy, and have a beveled form of dressing. 
No such walls as these are found in America. The skill of the 
American races did not consist in lifting great weights nor in 
building walls with massive and beveled stones. See Fig. 15. 
Still that there was skill exhibited in the walls in America is 
evident from various specimens presented, especially in Central 
America, Here the wall is highly ornamented, great skill hav- 
ing been exercised in sculpturing figures upon the face of the 


2. This brings us to the finish and ornamentation of the 
wall. In this there are some remarkable resemblances between 

Fig. 13— House on Island of Titicaca. 

the architecture of the New and the Old World. We first refer 
to one peculiarity which has impressed many writers on archi- 

Fig, 1', — Goiernofs House at Uxnial. 

tecture — the imitation of wood-work which is found in the stone 
structures. This was first noticed by Fergusson in Assyria. It, 


however, may be seen in Egypt and is very common in America. 
We give cuts to illustrate the point. One of these represents an 
Egyptian tomb, the stone sarcophagus of Mj'cerinus. See Fig. 
i6. On the front of it may be seen the imitation of wooden 
frame-work, as well as wooden cornice, the whole surface being 
covered by projecting columns, beams, with panels and door- 
ways between them. This peculiarity has been noticed in 
America. The facades of the palaces are frequently ornamented 
in this wav. A specimen mav be found in the facade of the 

Fi(j. 1j — M'all in Temple at Jerusalem. 

Casa de IMonjas at Uxmal, where the upper part of the wall 
is covered with lattice-work in stone — a close imitation of 
wooden lattice-work. See Fig. 17. Another pait of the same 
building is ornamented with lattice-work, on which are ei"ht 
parallel, horizontal figures, resembling wooden bars, each termi- 
nating at either end in serpent's heads with open jaws, the bars 
increasing in length as they approach the upper cornice. Violet 
le Due imagines this to have been an imitation of a primitive style 
of wood-work. Figs. 19 and 34 The same peculiarity will be 
noticed in the cornice ; in this there are ornaments which resem- 
ble small blocks of wood, and others resembling rosettes. We 
call attention to this peculiarity of the walls, for it illustrates a 
point. The prmiitivc ideas were retained in America even when 


the architecture reached a high stage. The same features which 
in Oriental countries were dismissed and disappeared, survived 
throughout all stages of development. We think that any one 
who looks at the ornamented walls and takes the pains to trace 

l-'iy. 10 — Jujypliaii Tomb. 

the many and elaborate patterns found upon them will see much 
skill in execution. Some of the patterns are so elaborate as to 
almost defy analysis. They would be very difficult if they were 
carved in wood, but here they are wrought in stone and are ob- 
jects worthy of admiration. These ornaments, however, are not 
as simple as they at first appear. They contain not only the im- 
itations of wood-work, but many elaborate and highly finished 

«• iHiruiiiiininiiuiiimiuuHtioiiiuiiiiim>j inmmitimimmi^mmmSfgmBmmmm 


I Fig. 17 — Imilatiou of Lattice Work and lioinun Key, at Cusa de Monjas. 

conventional patterns as well as symbolic figures, three qualities 
combined in one. In this the American architecture is peculiar. 
The rock-cut tomb of Beni-PIassan contains imitations of wooden 
beams and cornice, and some of the Assyrian palaces contain 
imitations of lattice-work; but the American facades contain 


symbolic figures, which make them representatives of a native 
mythology, the face of the divinity frequently peering out from 
among the elaborate ornamentations found here. We find also 
some strange resemblances to Old World patterns; specimens of 
the so-called Roman key or Greek fret, occasionally specimens 

Fig. IS— Elephant's Trunk and Eye and Ear Ornaments at Mitla. 

of the cross and the "suastika," but along with these the so- 
called elephant's trunk and eye ornaments, which remind us of 
the Chinese way of decorating their pavilions, a wonderful 
mingling of familiar figures with those which are outre and un- 
familiar. See Fig. i8. They are suggestive of a barbaric splendor 
which was equal to that reached by many of the monarchies of 
the Old World ; yet it was a splendor that was peculiar to 

Fig. 19— Bars with Serpent Heads— Casa de Monjas. 

America. W^e can hardly compare the two, though we may fix 
the stage which was reached by American ornamentation. 

3. The cornice. It appears that the cornice was a prominent 
element in the temples and palaces of America, and was some- 
times even placed upon the pyramids. The cornice was, how- 


over, peculiar to the civilized races; it is never found among the 
uncivilized races. The nearest approach to it is found in the 
projecting beams which support the floor ot the terraces of the 
pueblo houses. The history of the cornice in America has 
never been written; we find it at an advanced stage. It appears 
in stone-work and yet contains imitation ot wood-work. One 
of the earliest specimens of the cornice in the Old World is 
found in the temple cella at Amrith in Phoenicia. It is a plain 
bevel on the edge ot a monolith which forms the ceiling of the 
cella without finish or ornamentation. The cornices in America 

Fig, 20— Pyramid of Xochicalco. 

are very much in advance of this. We give a specimen in the 
cut. It represents the pyramid of Xochicalco. See Fig. 20. 
We may notice that there was a double cornice passing around 
this building, and that what corresponds to the frieze has panels 
in it divided b}" the folds of a serpent, but filled with mythologic 
figures. It vvill be noticed that the shape of the building is 
pyramidal and resembles many of the structures in this respect. 
The whole wall on the front and end of the building is carved 
so as to represent monsters of various kinds; the carving pass- 
ing over the joints of the stone, showing that it was done after 
the building was erected. This is a remarkable specimen of 
symbolic ornamentation, for the cornice itself contains symbo s. 

4. The subject of windows comes up in connection with the 
study of walls. 

The use of windows was not common in America and yet 
there are a few buildings in which windows appear. We call 


attention to the resemblance of the American and Assyrian 
architecture in this respect. It is said that the earl}^ Assyrian 
palaces had no windows, for the light was introduced through 
the doors. The same is true of the palaces of Central America. 
The doorways always opened upon the court, and therefore did 
not need protection. A curtain would shut ct^' the view from 
the outside and the inmates could perform their duties in all the 
privacy that they desired. The palaces were provided with 
corridors on the outside — corridors which were alwa3's cool and 
protected the people from the ra3-s of the sun. Figs. 21, 25. 

Fig. 21 — Doors used as WincJoirs. 

The manner of constructing windows and of licrhting the 
rooms should be noticed in this connection. It is remarkable 
that the window was one of the late inventions. It does not ap- 
pear in Oriental countries until quite late in historv. It does 
not appear in America until we reach the fourth or fifth stage 
in the line of architecture, but even here it is doubtful whether 
the window was not a door There are openings in the clifl 
dwellings which remind us of the windows of modern houses. 
We give a specimen ol one of them. See Fig. 22 It will be 
noticed that this is rudely constructed. 
There is no jamb, no casing, and no sill. 
The window cap is a mere rude block 
of stone, which is placed across the top 
of the walls and forms a lintel. It looks 
like a window, but the building in which 
it appeared had no other opening, and 
we conclude that it was a door. The 
same is true of the openings between 
the walls of the pueblo houses; they 
resemble windows, but the}' are doors. 
The only ancient building in America 

which has genuine windows in it is the 


two-story building on the island of 
Titicaca; this, however, mav have been erected after the time 
of the discovery, the original shape of the doorways being pre- 
served, and the windows being added as a borrowed feature. 

III. We now come to the architectural principles, and take 
up the various specimens of them, such as the pier and lintel, 
arch, column, etc., especially as these are found in America. 

I. The pier and lintel will first come up for study. These 
are among the earliest of architectural devices. They are not 
peculiar to civilization, but appeared long before; yet there is a 


development, especially of the ornamental pier and lintel, which 
only occurs among civilized people. This is a proof that the 
American races reached a hi(;h degree of civilization. 

The pier and lintel always have a history. The doorwa3's of 
the Assyrian palaces were generally constructed with heavy 
piers, which were surmounted by a single stone for a lintel. 
They were colmens on an advanced scale; the only specimens 
of which belonged to the prehistoric age. The history ot the 
pier and lintel has, however, been traced up to advanced points 
in America. We begin with the Peruvians. There are cer- 
tain edifices which have doorways which resemble those found 
in the early Etruscan temples. We give a specimen of one of 
these. See Fig. 13. It will be noticed the jambs of the door- 
ways as well as of the windows are on an incline, and in this 
respect resemble the doorwa3-s of the Egyptians as well as of 

the Etruscans. We 
call attention to the 
tact that the build- 
ing is two-story 
and has a massive 
and solid look, 
which is rarely 
found in American 
structures. There 
is also a gateway 
in Peru which il- 
lustrates the same 
point. See Fig. 
23. This gateway 
has its jambs in- 

Fig.23-GatervayinTiahuanaco. ^jj^^^ inward at 

the top, but it will be noticed that the wall above the gateway is 
elaborately ornamented. The peculiar feature of it is that the 
whole was cut out of a solid mass of stone. It is now broken and 
does not show as much grandeur as it once did. The gateways 
of Egypt are celebrated for their grandeur. There is a propylon 
at Carnac which illustrates this. It would seem as if the skill 
of architecture had expended itself upon it. If we compare the 
Peruvian with the Egyptian we find it greatly inferior. Per- 
haps this will lead us to fix the Peruvian architecture at com- 
paratively a low stage. 

Still the pier and lintel in America were, in some respects, 
superior to those found in Oriental countries, especially in 
ornamentation. The piers in the temples at Uxmal are orna- 
mented in a very elaborate way. They contain figures of 
priests and various symbols which are significant. These may 
be compared to the human-headed bulls which guarded the door- 
ways to the palace at Nineveh. Were we to compare the orna- 
mentation we should say that the piers and doorways in American 


palaces and temples were quite equal to the Assyrian. The 
same is true of the lintels. Stephens found lintels of carved wood 
which called forth his admiration so much that he actually re- 
moved one specimen and transported it to New York. 

2. We turn to the arch and shall compare it with those found 
in the ancient structures of the East. 

(i.) We are to study the history of the arch. It appears 
that the arch is found in America as it is found in the East, but 
the principle of the arch was here unknown. It is therefore 
only in the early stages of its development that we find the 
resemblances. One 
specimen consists of 
massive stones laid 
up at an angle, the 
upper ends resting 
upon each other. This 
is perhaps the earli- 
est form of the arch. 
We give a cut to 
illustrate it. It repre- 
sents the great pyra- 
mid of Gizeh. Plate I. 
An arch constructed 
upon the same princi- 
ple is found in the 
portal of Delos. No 
such arch has been 
found in America. 
Next to this is the arch 
which was made by 
masonry with stones 
laid in the shape of a 
vault, cut so as to 
make the ceiling hem- 
ispherical A speci- 

c ..I,' • rt^ J Fig. 2U— Tomb of the Third Pyramid. 

men of this is found 

in the tomb of the third pyramid. See Fig. 24. The third 
form of the arch is one that was common in Chaldea. It was 
formed by masonry, each layer jutting over the other. 

It is said that the tomb of Mugheir has an arch of this kind. 
It is a false arch; the layers of brick being placed over one 
another and projecting out so as to form an arched ceiling. This 
chamber shows that the principle of the arch was not known in 
the ancient Chaldean period. The same is probably true of the 
ancient architecture of America. There are many false arches 
resembling this of the earlv Chaldeans, but no true arch, \-et 
the arch was used more elTectively in America than in Chaldea. 
The arch served an important purpose in the palaces as well as 
in the pyramids. It not only entered into the foundation, serv- 



ing as a support for the stairways and for the steps of the 
terraces, but it also was an important element in the superstruc- 
ture. The corridors were 
all^made up of arches. The 
chambers and corridors were 
narrow, to render it possible 
to cover them without the 
introduction of immediate 

In this respect the palaces 
of Palenque and Uxmal re- 
sembled the palaces of Nim- 
rud and Corsabad. Reber 
speaks of the narrowness of 
these halls and corridor-like 


Fi(j. -20 — OroHs-sccUon o/ Corridors at Uxmal. 

spaces. They were the result of a constructive necessity 

greater width than that permitted by the arch or bv the span 

of ceiling-timbers was only to be obtained by ' — • 

the erection of a division-wall to prove a 
subsidiary support for the beams. So help- 
less a make-shift, destroying the unit}- and 
grandeur of the hall, could have been adopted 
only in entire ignorance of the opening and 
supporting element of the column, apparent- 
ly never recognized in Assyria."" The arch 
was not merel}^ an architectural device de- 
signed to support the massive walls and ^'o- M-'in/ou Arch. 
roofs of the chambers and corridors within the buildings, 

but it was also used as an orna- 
ment. We give cuts to illus- 
trate the points. One of them 
is a cross-section of the corridors 
at Uxmal. It shows how useful 
was the arch in this building. 
See Fig. 25. Another gives the 
• '4I?| r I shape of the openings into the 
I ('_' corridors and shows the archi- 
tectural device which made the 
arch an ornament as well as a 
support. It is a trefoil arch, re- 
minding us of some of the orna- 
mental arches which appeared 
in Europe during the Middle 
Ages. See Fig. 26. 

These all show how the false 

Fig. 27 — False Arclij'roia South America. 

arch was constructed. It will be noticed that the stones project 
over one another and that they are beveled out so as, to make 

*See History of Ancient Art, by Reber, p. 69. 


a false arch in the form of a vault, but without the principle. 
These are the arches found in buildings. There are, however, 
arched gateways in Peru which are as impressive archi- 
tective feats as are these vaulted ceilings and corridors found 
in the palaces. See Fig. 27. It would seem that gateways 
were used in all countries as signs of magnificence, and there- 
fore great efforts were used to make them imposing. The fol- 
lowing cuts represent gateways, one at Kabah and one at Labna. 
They remind us of sonie of the arched gateways ot the Roman 
empire. They are very interesting specimens of aboriginal 

Fig. 2S—Arch at Kabah. 

architecture. See Figs. 28 and 29. In some respects they sur- 
pass the gateways of the Assyrian palaces, for there were no 
arches in them. There was a great eflbrt on the part of the 
civilized races to reach the grandeur which the arch can give to 
structures made from stone, and they succeeded in many cases. 
It will be remembered, however, that the principle of tne arch 
was lacking in all these specimens. The support does not come 
from the keystone, but only from the strength of the masonry. 

3. We next come to the column. The column was used in 
America during prehistoric times, but was only used by the so- 
called civilized races. In this respect the column and the arch 
are to be classed together; both of them are factors which be- 

long to an advanced stage of art and architecture and are signs 
ot" civilization. The column, however, is a better index of the 
degree of civilization than the arch. At least we may learn 
Irom it the stage which had been reached by art and architec- 
ture, and by parity of reasoning, we may conclude that other 
thincrs were similar to it. In America the column is a better in- 
dex than in Oriental countries. In the latter countries it is an in- 
dex, but its form is so varied and its histor\' so prolonged that it 
lacks definiteness; while in America its history is limited and it 
has more definiteness of form. We learn from it the exact posi- 
tion of t)t<-' nrri-iitectnrp of America in the loner m;inh ot ihe 

Ftg. i'J — Roiiiati Key, Clualered Columns, Banded Cornice and False Arch ul Lubnx 

ages, and we may decide whether it has been over estimated 
or not. The history of the column in Oriental coutiiiies is, 
however, to be reviewed if we are to understand the subject. 
We first take its history as it appeared in Egypt. Here we 
have a complete line of development and a series which shows 
the different stages which were reached. The earliest speci- 
men of the column is that found in the tomb of Beni-Hassan. 
It is a sixteen-sided column and has a plain capital and pedestal 
and is used for the support of the lintel of the doorway, and of 
the roof of the chamber. It is called the Proto-Doric, but it 
originated from the duplication of the sides and angles of the 
square pier; the pier transformed first into an eight-sided and 
afterward into a sixteen-sided shaft. Both forms of the column 
are found in this tomb; they are suppo-^ed to belong to the 
tweltth dynasty— a dynasty which followed the fit'th, in which 


the pyramids were built, but with a considerable interval be- 
tween. This was the earliest stage of the column found in the 
historic countries. See Fi^r. 30. There were other kinds of 
the column which followed this, one of them being character- 
ized bv the decoration of the capital in the imitation of the bud 
ol the lotus. This appeared under the reign ot Rameses II. and 
may be seen in the great temple at Karnak. A third type was 
that which appeared under the reign of the Ptolemies. This 
consisted in the broadening out of the column into the shape of 
the calyx or flower of the lotus, the sides of the capital being 
painted so as to represent the petals of the lotus. Following 
thi*^ was the transformation of the shaft, the column being dec- 

Fkj. JO— Tomb 0/ Beni-HaHSun. 

orated with paintings and covered with hieroglyphics. This 
constituted the fourth stage. The fifth kind w^as reached when 
the column lost its shape as a shaft and became a caryatid, the 
human form elaborately sculptured, being made to serve as a 
column. Here then we have the five stages of growth in Egypt. 
We give cuts to illustrate this. First is the tomb of Beni-Has- 
san, of the twelfth dynasty; second, the ruins of Seti at Abydos, 
son of Rameses I., \vho 'belonged to the eighteenth dynasty. 
The third is the temple at Quarnah, built by Rameses II., of 
the nineteenth dvnasty. The fourth is the Memnonium of 
Rameses II., of the twenty-fifth dynasty, at Thebes. This 
building contains carytids which represent the fifth stage of 
development. See Figs. 30, 31, 32, 33. 

These represent the progress of the column from the earhest_ 
stages UD to its complete development. We also give a view ot 


the ruins at Karnak, which contain in themselves a complete 
history of the column. In this cut we find not only the pier and 
lintel, but the simple column with a plain capital. We have 
also in it the column with the lotus-headed capital, though it 
lacks the ornamentation and hieroolyphics. The obelisk, how- 
ever, makes up for this. The obelisk was of a late growth and 
hardly belongs to the same class as the column and yet it is in- 
structive as it illustrates one line of development ane one use or 
office to which the column was subjected. See Plate II. 

We also take up the history ot the column in Assyria. Here 
the earliest stages are involved in obscurilv, and yet enough is 

Fig. 31— Ruins of Sett. 

known of it to fix upon the different forms. The temple of 
Mugheir gives to us the earliest stage. See Fig. i. In this the 
column is but a simple projecting buttress with an entablature. 
Next to this is the column which stood between the piers and 
formed the openings to the windows. Here it served only as 
an ornament, not as a support. Next to this is the column as it 
appeared in the northern palace of Coyundjic in which the capi- 
tal is decorated. There are two columns between two pilasters, 
which support the entablature and the roof. The development 
of the column after this is rapid. It does not, however, serve 
very much as a support until the Persian empire is introduced. 
Persian columns with bull capitals are numerous. The columns 
ot Assyria were employed in a subordinate position, and were 
used only as ornaments, reliefs, and not as supports. The As- 


Syrian palaces were on this account unable to fulfil the demands 
of a monumental architecture. "The fundamental principles of 
vaulted construction, as of columnar architecture, were known 
in Assyria, but neither the column nor the arch was worthily 

Fig. $2— Temple at Quarnah. 

recojrnized and developed into an important feature, capable of 
exercising an influence upon the extent or form of the enclosed 

The question now arises about the column in America. What 
was its position in the architecture of the New World? Did it 


-The Memnonium. 

belong to the early or later stages? In answering this question 
we shall first refer to the form, (i.) We notice that it is a 
simple shaft and lacks the capital and pedestal. If it has the 
capital at all it is a plain block, without ornamentation and dec- 

*See History of Ancient Art, by Reber, p. 71. 


oration. There are columns which have bands about the cen- 
ter, some of the bands being somewhat elaborate. Fig. 34. 
We should say. in reference to the form, that it belongs lo an 
primitive stage and might naturally be classed with the early 
Doric or Proto-Ionic. (2.) As to "the office of the column we 
find that it rarely serves as a support, though sometimes it is 
placed as a division to the doorway. In this respect it resembles 
the Persian columns in Assyria, the use of which was mainly 
to make divisions in the windows or supports for the window- 
caps. The column rarely served in America as a support, 
though there are a few exxeptions. (3). The use of the column as 

Fig. 3!t— Column from Pulenque. 

an ornament is very common. There are at Palenque facades 
on which the columns appear in connection with the imitation 
of lattice- work between the double cornices and make panels 
on the frieze. In the panels there are ornaments in imitation of 
the huts or common houses of the people, surmounted by the 
emblems of divinity, with the image of divinity in the doors. 
These columns are, some of them, flat and some round; the 
round are finished with bands in the center and are arranged in 
triples. They are not used for support, but for ornament. 
There are, however, other buildings in which the column is dif- 
ferently used. Bancroft has mentioned the various localities 
where they appear. Among these may be mentioned the row 
of round columns on the terrace of the Governor's House at 
Uxmal, sixteen columns at Xul from the ruins of Xochacab, 


thirty-six square columns on the summit platform of the pyra- 
mid at Ake, three hundred and eighty short pillars, also square, 
arranged round a square at Chichen-Itza, eight round pillars on 
the terrace of the round house at Mayapan, the reported line of 
square columns originally supporting a gallery at Merida, and 
finally the monoliths of Sijoh.* Columns appear also as orna- 
ments at Casa Grande, at Zayi, also in the building and gate- 
way at Labna See Fig. 23. 

The column ordinarily is nothing more than an ornament, and 
cannot be regarded as even reaching the position of an archi- 
tectural principle. It introduces a style, but does not introduce 
an order. There is a whole realm of architectural development 
bej'ond it. Still, we may say that the column occupied the 
same position in the architecture of preiiistoric America as in 
ancient historic countries. 

4. The decorations which are occasionally seen upon the 
column are instructive. There are columns in America 
which are elaborately decorated. The columns of Egypt, 
which were erected in the eighteenth dynast}^ are not more or- 
namented than these. To illustrate: In the palace at Chichen- 
Itza there is a massive shaft which is surmounted by a heavy 
block placed under the massive roof, which projects from the 
palace. On this column are inscribed the head and body of a 
serpent, the very scales of the serpent forming an elaborate or- 
namentation. Certainly no such shaft as this would have been 
erected unless the builders had passed beyond the primitive 
stages. Tfie column fills its legitimate office, it supports a 
heavy roof. It is highly ornamental, suggestive of a high grade 
of art. It also has a capital similar to that of the Proto- Doric, 
the three elements in one — support, form, ornamentation, resem- 
bling the columns of the Old World when in an advanced 
stage. Such columns did not appear in Assyria until the reign 
of Esarhaddon. Such columns did not appear in Egypt till the 
reign of Rameses II. We may say then that the architecture 
of the civilized races in America was equal in many of its quali- 
ties to that of the civilized races of Assyia, Egypt and Phoenicia; 
that it was similar to that which appeared in the middle period 
of the ancient dynasties, and that it indicated a civilization which 
was remarkable in such an isolated region and among people 
who had been for so long unknown. 

The column is, then, by its very appearance in America, an 
indication that architecture had passed beyond the primitive 
stages, and that a very considerable degree of civilization had 
been reached. 

*See Bancroft's Native Races of the Pacific States, Vol. IV., pp. 214, 217, 275. 



We have new passed in review the different structures which 
appeared in pre-historic times and continued into the historic, 
and have found that each one of them originated in a very 
primitive form, but came up through different stages until a 
high degree of perfection was reached. This has proved to be 
true of such common objects as the bridges, boats, and other 
mechanical contrivances, but especiall}' true of the houses, forts, 
palaces, and all other forms of architecture, whether represent- 
ing naval, military, domestic, funeral or sacred. There is, how- 
ever, one class of structures into which other elements besides 
the ordinary mechanical and architectural principles have en- 
tered, namely, the Temples: for in these the religious senti- 
ment has proved a very important factor, and has had as much 
to do with their growth as even the architectural or mechanical 
principles. VVe shall, therefore, take for the subject of the 
present chapter, The Early or Ancient Temples of the World, 
and seek to find out their origin and to trace the lines of their 
development and see what causes have been at work to bring 
them into such a variety as they have presented. In doing so, 
we shall assume that there were, at the beginning, certain 
primordial forms from which all architecture started, and that 
these forms continued to impress themselves upon the temple 
architecture when it arose, so that we have even now different 
kinds of temples which maybe classified according to the type 
after which they were patterned. They maybe classed as fol- 
lows: 1. Temples in Caves. 2. Open Air Temples. 3. 
Temples in the form of a tent. 4. Temples in the form of a 
round hut. 5. The Temple in the form of a square tower 
called a teocalli. 6. The Temple or Shrine situated upon the 
summit of a pyramid. 7. The Temple in the form of a house 
but built in the columnar style. 

I. In reference to the cave temple, it will be understood that 
this was different from the ordinary cave dwelling, and yet 
was the outgrowth of the habit or custom of living in caves. 
There are caves in the West Indies which were used as 
shrines for their divinities or idols. These caves contained 
many religious symbols, wrought into etchings and grotes- 
que images or idols. It is a belief among the Antilles that 
all the human race emerged from, the same cave, but after 
their advent upon the earth's surface they assumed the forms 
of various animals. Idols were discovered by Columbus. 
These were called Zemes. They are supernatural beings em- 
bodied in images of stone. They are supposed to be repre- 
sentatives of the "Clan Ancients," each individual Zeme repre- 
senting a supernatural divinity. 


It is well known that the oracles and temples of Greece and 
other ancient countries were either in caves or remote moun- 
tain recesses. The temples of Pan, Bicchus. and Pluto were 
in cave^, as well as the oracles at Delphi, Corinth, and Mount 
Cithicron. In Persian mythology caves were the places 
where the rites of mithras were observed. In Europe there were 
caves about which myths have gathered, such as the Fairy 
Dragons or Devil's Cave and Dwarf Holes. Caves were also 
used for burial places, and so became shrines and sacred 
places. Tne cave of Macpelah is well kiowa as the ba- 
r.ilp'.a:eof th i nojsehold of Abraham. 

[n America, caves were used as the homes of the people, 
and be :ame sacred places. Among the Ctiff-D Ateliers, there 
werevvhole villages built into the shelter caves, but the most 
prominent building in them was the so-called Kiva. This pre- 
sented the shape of a primitive hut, built in circular shape with 
the walls divided into ledges and piers, which are supposed to 
represent the posts and walls of the primitive hut, and at the 
same time, symbolize the pillars of the sky, the conical roof 
symbolizing the dome of the sky, and the hole in the floor 
symb jlizing the place of emergence through which the ances- 
tors came fro n their primitive home. The Pueblos built their 
kivas under the ground, and reached them by ladders, bit 
made them represent both the cave and the hut. 

In Mexico, and Central America, there were underground 
caves wnich were used for the sacred ceremonies that were 
performed. Dr. Brinton has described the nagualism or witch- 
craft which found lodgement in caves, and which remin Js us of 
the witchcraft that was practiced in the time of Solomon by 
the witch of Endor, whose home was in a cave. 

The cave became so sacred that labvrinths w:re construct- 
ed to imitate them. The labyrinth of Egypt is well known. 
It consisted of many chambers, the most of them below the 
ground, the subterranean rooms being sacred places. A laby- 
rinth has been recently discovered in Crete. The most mag- 
nificent works of art were contained in it, and some fine speci- 
mens of architecture, thus carrying back the date of civilization 
in Crete to a marvelous antiquity- The labyrinth called '"Lost 
and Lost," (Tzatum Tsat.) in Nicaragua, was also a sacred 
place which imitated the cave. The following is a description 
of it by Mr. H. C. Mercer: 

''Tne whole wa5 cov;red by aa artificial rmund of stones, oblong in 
shap;, 353 feet in circumference, and 3[ feet high. Within, there are 
three tieri ot flat stones, and the stair ci^e leads from the innerraoit pas- 
sage of the lower story to the upper story." 

The cave of Loltun, near Palenque,has also been described 
by Mr. Mercer: 

"A ij-eatntndi, 325 fe:t Iii^. 290 f-;itin liam^ter. lei to a c'ltiibj 
under the sky light. The rocks were covered with symbols and picturesr 
•of a mysterious character. The question arose "had the rocks seen the 


diabolic rites of Nagaalism?" or had men ventured to live here day and 
•nignt, burying their dead here, and wandering into the unknown ?'' 

It is to be noticed that the rock cut temples of India, were 
shrines as well as temples, but they presented, on the outside, 
carvings which represented the earliest columns, beams, posts, 
doorways, rafters of the earliest temples constructed of wood, 
and, at the same time, the statues of the Divinites were pre- 
served in the shrines, but all carved out of stone. 

The ancient Etruscans, built their temples partly beneath 
the surface, but the upper pirt was built in the form of a house, 
with arched roof and pillars in front, and a ledge which form- 
ed a seat around the sides. Tne tomb of Cyrus was in the 
form of a house, but the front was open, thus making it into a 
shrme. The tombs in the vallev of the Kedron opposite Jeru- 
salem, were grottoes cut out of the rock, but resembled houses 
or temples on a small scale. The tomb of Absalom, is a good 
specimen of this. It is ornamented with Ionic pilasters, sur- 
mounted by a circular cone of masonry which terminates in a 
tuft of palm leaves. 

It was in connection with the cave temple that the earliest 
forms of architecture appeared. The column, in its different 
stages of growth, is shown by the cave at Beni Hassen, in 
Egv'.t, and the facade, or, portals, with the acco npanying 
statues, as shown in the rock cut temple at Abou Simbel. 
Within this tomb, or grotto, are seen two groups of statues, 
and, upon the roof, may be seen the winged circle. The tomb 
of Mugheir, on the other hand, presents one of the earliest 
forms of the arch, though it is made by horizontal projections 
of the bricks and without the key-stones, and thus resembles the 
arch as i^ is found in America. There is a relief from Korsabad 
which represents a temple with its interior open to view, and 
on either side may be seen the castle with battlements; also, 
the rock cut tomb of D irius. represents a palace with columns 
and cornice and doorway all in the Persian style. 

II. Open air temples are to be treated next. These were 
constructed in different ways and had a great variety of forms. 
Among these forms the following may be mentioned; i. The 
Monoliths or Obelisks. 2. The Circle of Standing Stones, 
which are so common throughout the far east and the various 
parts of Europe. 3. The high places which are so numerous 
in various pirts of Syria, Arabia, and the land of the Hittites, 

4. The various altars which were common in the same region 
but were disconnected from temples and yet were sacred places. 

5. The altars which are connected with sculptured statues 
and idol pillars generally called Stelae which were common 
both in Babylonia and other parts of Asia and in Central 
America. 6. The sacred groves common in India, Greece and 
Great Britain. 7. The slab circle with the altar enclosed 

'found at 

Open air Temples were very ancient, and, perhaps, follow- 


ed the caves in the order of time. These, for the most part, 
were in the form of circles, sometimes consisting of earthworks 
with openings for the processions which might enter them, but 
generally were made of monoliths, which were erected either in 
the form of a circle or an ellipse or a horseshoe. Monoliths 
were common throughout the East. The majority of them were 
erected to commemorate some noted event, illustr-tions of 
which are found in the scriptures, for Jacob erected a pillar 
which should be a sign of his \ow as well as a reminder of his 
vision. The obelisks of Egypt, may be called monoliths rath- 
er than temples, for they are commemorative monuments, and 
contain the records of various kings. The obelisk at Nimrud* 
is also a monument, as it was designed to commemorate the 
victory of the king over his enemies. 

Obelisks were frequently placed near temples, and so 
may well be considered in connection with temple architec- 
ture. Two rock cut obelisks at Mazzebah, near Petra, 

with a round an-d 
square altar, and 
a rock cut court 
ha\e been discov- 
ered. These obe- 
lisks probably 
grew out of stand- 
ing stones; or a 
modification o f 
them, and suggest 
the thought that 
the standing 
stones and align- 
ments, in the 
north of France, 
were connected 
with some form of worship, marking out the avenues through 
which the processions might be led to the tombs, as elsewhere, 
in Great Britain, they led to open air temples. 

That standing stones and obelisks were connected with 
open air temples, will be seen as we proceed, for they are 
found not only at Stone-henge and Avebury, but also in Peru, 
and many other parts of the world. There were isolated col- 
umns forming the circles around the ancient tombs in India, 
and many other parts of the East. 

As to the question whether there were open air temples in 
America, it would seem that there were, for nearly all of the 
religious ceremonies of the aborigines were in the open air. 
The people of the Great Plateau timed their ceremonies by 
the position of the sun by day and the Pleiades by night, the 
study of the heavens being as close with them as among the 


See chapter ou kock Cut Temples. 


peoples of the East, and the dependence upon the powers of 
the air was as greit anong them as the dependence upon the 
risinof of the waters was among the people dwelling upon the 
Euphrates or the Nile. 

Thecircle, or round temple, seems to have been at one time 
the place where laws were enacted. In Ireland the Moot 
Hills are usually on the margin of a river, in the immediate 
vicinity of a religious edifice, forming an interesting object in 
the landscape. 

Sir James Logan says: 

" In Scotlan 1, thi Highlan iers were accustomed to assemble and elect 
chi ifs, tlii ol lis hivin? tae r sp^'cial place in the circle. Clanship involves 
opin air assemblies b)tnf)rthi military and religious purposes. When 
the Highlan 1 chief entered on his government, he was placed on the top of 
a cairn, and iround him stood his friends and followers. The practice of 
crowning a king upon a stone is of extreme antiquity and survives to the 
present day in England. The practice of holding courts in the open air 
was common The court of Areopa^^us, at Athens, sat in the open air. The 
same prictice was common amjn^ the Druids, but on the abolition of 
Druidism the courts which were held in the circles, were transferred to the 
chnrch. The sacrifice of captives was considered, in some cases, as nece»- 
sarv for propitiating the deity."* 

The question arises, 
in reference to the con- 
nection of the standing 
stones with the circles, 
and the object of the 
circles. There are many 
reasons for believin^j 

that the larger circles 


Avere designed for tem- 
ples. Among these are 
the following: I. Many 
of the circles contain 
within thein dolmens, 
which were used both 
for burial places and for altars, suggesting that human sacri- 
fices may have been practiced. 2. The fact that there are ring 
marks and cups upon some of the dolmens, suggests the idea 
that blood was poured out and was preserved in the cups. 3. 
Circles formed of standing stones are frequently isolated from 
the surrounding country by small bodies of water, or upon hill 
tops. 4. The fact that earthwalls surrounded the stone cir- 
cles and that avenues led to the interior suggests that they 
were used for religious ceremonies and processions. 5. The 
svmbolism contained in the stone circles suggests that the en- 
closures were sacred to the sun and the circles were symbols 

The circle of standing stones at Avebury shows probably an open air temple. The cut so 
represeuts it, for Druid priests are seen in it, loitering about the walls and treading the enclosed 

•See Scottish Gael or Celtics Manner, by James Logan, 1843 


of the solar cult. 6. The standing stones or menhirs, were 
often placed in such a position as to throw a shadow into the 
circle. This confirms the idea still further, and makes it prob- 
able that there were solstitial ceremonies obserxed in these cir- 
cles resembling those in the ancient temples farther East in 
Egypt, Assyria, India, and in America. 7. The color, and char- 
acter of the stones, especially those of Stone-henge, are very 
significant, and show that symbolism extended even to the 
material as well as to the arrangement of the stones. 

This generalizing does not prove that all circles were open 
air temples, nor does it prove that there was any connection 
between the open air temples and other temples which appeared 
in other parts of the world, and yet this as well as the fact that 
temples and tombs were always closely associated, and that 

the sk\' and earth 
were regarded as 
the different parts 
of the Great Tem- 
ple, renders it pro- 
bable that the cir- 
cles were not only 
symbols, but were 
sanctuaries in 
which the solar di- 
vinities were wor- 

There were open 
air temples in 
America. The 
one represented in 
the cut is in Peru. 
It was devoted 
to sun worship. It symbolized the sun, as the stone pavement 
was laid in diagonal lines, the temenos was marked by a circle 
of standing stones, while two standing stones in the center 
showed the exact time of the equinoxes, as they cast no shad- 
ow when the sun was at the equinox. 

The best specimens of open air temples are those of 
Stone-henge and Avebury in Great Britain. These have al- 
ready been desciibed, but as there are certain features which 
have been omitted, we shall again refer to them, drawing es- 
pecially from the English authors. 

The following is Barclay's description of Stone-henge: 

"It is enclosed by a low circular embankment outside a ditch, named 
the 'Earth Circle,' To the northeast is the ancient avenue where are the 
two outlying stones; The ' Friars Heel ' that bows toward the temple, and 
the 'Slaughter Stone ' that lies flat with the ground between the Sun stone 
and the temple. The design consists of an outer circle of thirty uprij^hts 


•The color of the stones, white^and blue, reminds us of the symbolism of colorwhich was 
common among the American aborigines. 


supporting^ twenty-eight transverse lintels; within this circle, a smaller cir - 
cle of uprights These circles contain two horseshoe figures, one within 
the other. The outer horseshoe, is composed of five groups, consisting of 
two piers, and a superimposed block. The inner horseshoe, is composed of 
small uprights. Both horseshoes had iheir openings tcwird the Sun stcne. 
The outer lintel circle and outer hcrseihoe are composed of Sarsen stores 
brought ficm near Avebuiy; the inntr circle and inner horseshoe are com- 
posed of blue itones of igntous rock brought from a distance. 

The analogues of Stone-henge, were fotnd by Palgrave in Central 
Arabia, by Barth near Tripoli, in Africa, consisting of triliths and stcne 
circles, a sort of sun dial, combining the vertical and hoiizcntal principle. 
The flat stone was intended to carrv off the blotd ol the victim. 

Stone-henge consists of different kinds of stone, but was piobablv 
erected at one time, and has a unity of design in the measurement of differ- 
ent parts. Parts of the chippings of the stcne, are found in the barrows. 
Thecursuswas an appendage of the temple and was construoted at the 
same time. 

The triliths distinguish Stone-henge from other circles. The distance 
from the Sun stone to the Slaughter stone, is one hundred feet. The plac- 
ing of the Slaughter stones, the Sun stones, the Stones of the earth circle 
in regard to the center, the diameter of the Sarsen ciicle, and of the blue 
stone circle, the distance of the central trililh, the depth ol the horseshoe, 
and the dimensions of the altar, are all derived Ire m the triangle within the 

The symbols of Stone-henge. are found in many things; the circle is a 
symbol of the jun; the crescent or the horseshoe, is the symbol of the 
moon; the triliths are mystic gateways; the long avenues were designed to 
be the paths of religious piocetsions; other symbols are found in the color 
of the stcne, the blue stone and the red stone. 

We have two forms of worship symbolized at Stone henge; the earth 
worship and the sun worship. The bond of union in the primitive house- 
hold was the domestic worship. As the house father made the offerings 
to the house spirit, the fire, by throwing a share of the food into the 
fire before eating; in the circular temples was involved the worship of 
the sun, the visible world father. Men prayed to the sun, the Ruler, and 
Saviour of the world to give them good harvest and daily bread. 

From the position of the altar table, in the circle, we perceive that 
any object placed on it should be at the mid-summer sun-rise, w^^en 
the sun would cast its shadow on the trilith. 

As the sun rose the shadow of the lintel circle covered the altar 
table, but when the portals of the east, the everlasting gates, were thrown 
wide open and the sun god shone out in the fullness of his glory, then 
it appealed that he regarded the sacrifices with favor, and wrote upon 
the wall with his sunbeams the golden rule, his assurance of plenty. 

Barclay says, further: 

'W hen standing within the precincts of this heavy or shaiteie d t( n rie, 
the speciator is forced to acknowledge that the unl-ncwn cesigrei, has 
hucceedtdin ccnveyirg a le maikable imple^s:cn ol gi tnci ui s mpiic.ty 
of design, bold and rugged objects with ro atK mpt at o«nan ent. Tlise 
recks strike ore witha sense of erdles-s ercuiar.ce ard power while oieer 
and dignity assert themselves amid this wreck and conlusion," 

III. The temple, in the form of a Tent, is the most com- 
mon, and, at the same time, the most interesting. We learn 
from the Sacred Scriptures, that the Tent was regarded as the 
heme of the divinity, and, that it was sacred to the Hearth 
Divinity. This is illustrated in the case of Abraham. When 
the argel visited him, a sacrifice was made, and the pieces of 
sacrifice, according to the common custom, were divided, but 


Abraham dreamed that he saw the furniture of his tent, such 
^s the smoking furnace and the burning lamp, passing between 
the pieces, and he took it as a sign that the hearth divinity 
had accepted the sacrifice, and had even made sacred the com- 
mon furniture 

It was perfectly natural that the temple should become a 
shrine or temple, for the most sacred associations of life were 
connected with it. The children of Israel, when they passed 
through the wilderness, are said to have received a command 
from God, as to the place in which he was to be worshiped. 
It was in the tabernacle or tent resembling those of the com- 
mon people, and its furnishings were reminders of those of the 
home, the table, upon one side, the candle stick upon the 
other, the laver at one end, and the curtain at the other, the 
Holy of Holies beyond the curtain, and the ark of the cove- 
nant within the curtain. 

Every portion of this tabernacle, reminds us of the Patriarchy 
which prevailed at the time, and furnishes a picture of the 
home life of the people, for the tabernacle was gold lined, and 
yet was in the form of a tent. The table v/ith the sacred loaves 
upon it, and thegolden candlestick, also represented thecommon 
furniture of the house; the ark within the Holy Place represent- 
ed the chest, which contained the treasures of the household; 
the sacredness of the place also suggesting the privacy of the 
house, and the authority of the father. So sacred was the 
house in these days that it was imitated by the tomb, and the 
tomb became not only the house of the dead, but the place of 
worship and sacred assemblies. In fact the tomb became 
a temple, and remained such for many centuries, even among 
the more civilized people, and into historic times. It is sup- 
posed by some, that the worship of ancestors which was one 
of the earliest forms of religion, was perpetuated by this means, 
but the tomb continued to be a temple or place of worship 
long after the worship of ancestors ceased. 

The enquiry has arisen as to the original form of the taber- 
nacle. Wds it in the form of a tent resembling the other tents 
in which the Israelites dvvelt or was it in the form of the oblong 
house with upright walls resembling the Egyptian temple? On 
this point there is considerable uncertainty. It is known that 
the Egyptian temple was made up of several parts. In front 
of it were the propylaae or lofty gateways. Next to this was 
the Peristyle hall back of this was the Hypostylc hall in the 
rear of all was the Adytum. The tabernacle had a court in 
front of it which was entered through a single gateway and 
was called the Temple Court and was the place of sacrifice. 
Within the tabernacle proper was the Holy Place which cor- 
responded to the Hvpostyle Hall, while the Holy of Holies cor- 
responded to the Adytum of the Egyptian and no one could 
enter it except the high priest. 

The Temple of Solomon was modelled partly after the or- 


iginal tabernacle but contained features which resembled those 
of the Assyrian and Babylonian rather than the Egyptian tem- 
ple- Several features, however, seem -to have been borrowed 
from the Egyptians. First there were two pillars in front of it 
which resembled the obelisks in front of the temples in Egypt. 
Second the pillars or columns of Solomon's court were all on 
the inside making it resemble the Egyptian temple rather 
than the Greek temple. Third, the tabernacle as well as the 
temple of Solomon was but a single stor)' in height and in this 
respect resembled the Egyptian rather than the Babylonian, 
for the latter was alvvays three stories in height and ultimately 
reached the seventh story. Each story or terrace was devoted 
to a separate Stellar divinity, the upper story devoted to the 
sun. Fourth, the tabernacle as well as the temple was divided 




into three parts, the court, which was open to the people, the 
Holy Place which was open only to the priests, the Holy of 
Holies which was open only to the high priest once a year, 
and contained the ark and figures of angels; a division which 
corresponded to the Perist\le, Hypostyle, and Adytum of the 
Egyptians. Fifth, the form of angels with wings in the Holy 
of Holies corresponded to the winged figures of the Babylon- 
ians, though the Babylonian figures had six wings. There was 
a difference, however, between the winged figures of the taber- 
nacle and those in the temple for in the tabernacle the winged 
figures were kneeling and both wings were thrown forward, but 
in the temple the winged figures were standing and the wings 
stretched out to either side, reaching the walls on one side 
-and meeting one another over the ark on the other side and so 


over shadowing the ark. Sixth, the names of the temples of 
the different nations are significant. In Babylonia the temple 
is called Mountain House or the Lofty House. In Egypt it is 
called the Great House or the King's House, and is equivalent 
to the palace. In Jerusalem it is called the House of Vahveh 
or God's Dwelling Place and the Holy Place. 

Seventh, the personal element prevailed in the temple of 
the jews, but the worship of the sky and heavenly bodies pre- 
vailed in Babylonia. In Egypt it was the worship of animals, 
of ancestors, of kings, and of the personified nature powens.the 
most of them represented under human forms but with animal 
heads. No such distorted images were ever seen in the Taber- 
nacle or temple and the only image seen was suggestive of an- 
gelic creatures and typical of the heavenly scenes. 

The Hebrew temple had two forms — that of the taberna- 
cle in the wilderness and Solomon's temple at Jerusalem, each 
of which was built after a different model and embodied a dif- 
ferent style. The Babylonians seem to have retained in the 
tower like form of their temple the reminiscences of their ear- 
liest home among the mountains, for, notwithstanding the fact 
that they long lived on the level plains near the mouth of the 
Tigris, they always built their temple in the form of a lofty 
tower and called it the Mountain Hou;-e or the House of the 
Mountain Divinit}'. They, however, changed the significance 
of the tower and made it symbolize the pillars of che sky, 
but dedicated it to the planets and the sun, and gave each sto- 
ry a different color so as to represent the various planets. The 
shrine upon the summit was consecrated to the sun. 

There were other nations beside the Hebrews who built 
their early temples in the shape of tents. Among these the 
most notable are the Hindoos and Chinese. The Chinese had 
two kinds, one devoted to the Shintoo faith and the other to 
Buddhism, but both retained the tent form. See cut. 

The Buddhist temples have taken the place largely of the Shintoo 
temples. In them we see a marvellous grouping of buildings with a two- 
storied gable as chief feature, which resembles a gate. The framing of 
the lower siory is arranged so as to form niches in which stand the God. 
The roof is the most artistic feature, having broad, overhanging eaves, fes- 
tooned in the centre and bent upward and backward at the corners. Budd- 
hi>t temples, like the Shintoo temples, are composed of buildings groupfd 
together. Passing through the entrance, the visitor hnds himself in the 
first terraced court, only to encounter another, and so on to a third and. 
fourth. After traversing terrace after terrace he reaches the chapel or or- 
atory. The court yards are usually filled with buildings of the Buddhist- 
cult, as well as a number of bronze lanterns. 

Belfreys, priest apartments, pavilions, with cisterns of holy water, and 
pagodae appear on every side, all crowned with festooned roofs. Among 
the most imposing of ihese are pagodas which are invariably square. Lx- 
ternally the pagoda is built in five or seven stories, each set a little back 
of the other, and girt about with balconies and overhanging eaves. The 
whole is usually lacquered, and above all, is the spire of bronze which forms 
the peak. 

The temple, like the domestic buildings, is provided with a verandah 
and columns, shaded by a gabled roof, and a bracketed cornice. The floor 
is covered with silk-bordered mats. The roofs, like festoonued, jewelled 


mantles, are graceful in curve and sweep. The Japanese never mistake 
greatness or ostentation for beauty, but they always exhibit rttinement 
and reserve, which contribute so much to the ideal. 

The origin of these styles of the Oriental temples came from the tt-n- 
tlency to make the house resemble the tent, and to cover it with adorn- 
men's of sculpture, which so easily won their fancy and engaged their 
skill. In this respect their art and literature were alike.* 

IV. Another pattern is found in the Chinese tCiDples. These 
are in the shape of a round hut, with a conical roof, and some- 
times several roofs. They are probably survivals of the prim- 
tive house. They are described by Rev. Henry Blodget D.D.: 
J " The state worship of the early kings of Egypt, Greece 
Rome, Phoenicia, Assyria, Babylonia, and India, no longer ex- 
ists in real life. If we study it, we do so from books, and from 
the monuments of antiquity; but here wc have the ancient 
wojship of China, preserved in a living form, to the present 
time. This worship is invested with the deepest interest to 
students of ethnic religions. The antiquit)- of its ohserxance; 
the magnificence of its 


BBH^ ' I "mnWlBi' gi III! I II linll 


altars; the imposing na- 
ture of its rites; combine 
to give this worship a ve- 
ry conspicuous place in 
the stud)' of the ancient 

The dual principle was 
recognized in China, one 
called j'lH and the othtr 
yang, and there were tuu 
altars in the city of Pekin. 
The one directed to hea\ - 
en, which is also yang, 
is on the south; the altar 
to earth, which is yi)i, is on the north, but the altar of the 
isun son the east, and the altar of the mcoi. on the west. Each 
of these altars, is situated in a large park, planted with rows of 
lotus, pine and fir trees. The south is the region of light and 
heat, the jv///^'-, while the north is the region of cold and dark- 
ness, the 1'///. This perpetuates the myth, which surrounds the 
altar to heaven, which has the greatest antiquity and import- 
ance. This altar is built of while marble, and stands under the 
open sky. The structure is in three concentric circular ter- 
races, rising one above another, and each surrounded by richly 
carved marble balustrades. The diameter of the lowest terrace 
is 210 feet, the middle terrace 150 feet, the uppermost terrace 
90 feet. The last is a circular flat surface about i'^ feet above 
the level of the ground. It is paved with white marble slabs, 
which are so arranged as to form nine concentric circles 
around one circular stone in the centre. The altar is 
round, as representing the circle of heaven. It is built of white 

•Ovorland Monithly. IJour. of Amer. Oilental Society, 1902. 


■marble, rather than of dark, because heaven belongs to light, 
or the v^fftj^ principle. The ascent to the altar, is by three flights 
of steps, on the north, the south, the east, the west; each flight 
having nine steps. Answering in all respects to the altar of 
heaven, is the altar of earth, on the north side of the city. The 
grounds of this park are square, and contain about three hun- 
dred acres. The altar to earth is made of dark colored marble, 
since the earth belongs to jj7>/, the dark principle. It has two 
terraces, instead of three. The top of the altar is paved with 
marble slabs, quadrangular in form, and laid in squares, around 
a central square, upon which the emperor kneels and worships. 
Each of these squares, consists of successive multiples of eight 
instead of nine as in the circles on the altar to heaven It is built 
upon a square elevation, surrounded by a square wall, while the 
altar to heaven is built upon a round elevation, and surround- 
ed by a round wall. The altars to the sun and moon are con- 
structed on the same general plan, with constantregard to the 

dual principle, as are 
the altars of the 
gods of the land and 
grain, the spirits of 
heaven, the spirits of 
earth, all of which are 
in the rifi, as all wor- 
ship is arranged ac- 
cording to the dual 
principle, j'l// and 
y<^fig. The worship of 
heaven comes at the 
winter solstice, be- 
cause then the power 
of the yi}i, or dark 
principle, has run its 
course, and is ex- 
hausted, and the power of the yang, or light principle, repre- 
sented by heaven, again begins to assert itself. The days be- 
gin to lengthen; nature prepares herself once more for the glo- 
ries of spring and summer. 

The worship of earth comes at the summer solstice. Then 
the power of the yang, or light principle, is exhausted, and the 
power of the yin, or dark principle, represented by earth, be- 
gins in turn to assert itself. The days begin to grow shorter. 

This solstitial worship, as it is most ancient, so also is it 
sacred in the regard of the Chinese. No one but the emperor 
or one of the highest rank. delegated by him, is allowed to per- 
form it. Acknowledging its great authority, every one would 
recognize the fact that, it is invested with a high degree of rev- 
ersnce and solenmity; the religious feelings are deeply moved 
in performing its sacrerd rites; that there is a certain elevation 
of mind, a grandeur and awe, which ttaches to the worship Of 



the vast heaven and broad earth, the sum total of all created 
things, performed, as it is, by the monarch of so many millions 
of human beings. 

The worship of heaven and earth, stands at the head of the 
Chinese pantheon, and is inseparably bound up with the worship 
of numerous other beings and things. The pantheon of China 
is large. It includes the \arious parts and powers of nature; 
the deceased emperors of every dynasty; deceased sages, heroes 
and warriors; distinguished statesmen; in\entorsof useful arts; 
in general, an under world made up of all objects of worship 
in the three great religions of the land. 

V. In America there were several kinds of temples, one cir- 
cular in shape, n sembling the round hut, anotlicr in the siiape 
of a square tower, called a teocalli, and tlie third in the form 
of a shrine, all placed upon pyramids. 

To illustrate, there- are round towers in Mexico and Cen- 
tral America, 
which are call- 
e d Caracols. 
These are con- 
ical in shape, 
and have stair- 
ways in the in- 
terior, and a 
conical roof 
s ur m ou n ting 
them. They ai e 
placed upon a 
conical p y r a - 
mid, which hris 
stairways, point 
ing to the four 
quarters of the 

eartii, and are furnished with doorways connecting with the 
stairways. It is not known from what source this symbolism 
was derived, but it seems to have been connected with the 
worship of the nature powers. 

Temples are to be distinguished from towers. There were 
temples connected with palaces, as can be seen from examining 
the plates, which represent the ruins of Palenque, Uxmal,. 
Chichen-Itsa, Xkichmook; that there were also towers con- 
nected with the temples, is shown by the accounts written by 
the various historians. To illustrate: De Solis, in describing^ 
the conquest of Mexico, speaks of a rising ground that com- 
manded the whole circumjacent plain, on the top of which, was 
a towered building which appeared like a fortress. It was a 
temple dedicated to the sylvan deities or idols of the woods, to 
which those barbarians dedicated their harvests. The court of 
the temple was sufficiently capacious, encompassed with a 
wall, after their manner of building, which, together with the 



towers, by which it was flanked, rendered it tolerably defens- 

These towers were generally arranj^ed on the sides of en- 
closures and, in connection with entrances to the temples, but 
some of them, were at the foot of tht pyramid on which the 
temples were placed. De Solis, speaks a2:ain of the towers of 
the great temples, which could command a pirt of the palace 
and of others connected with the temple itself. Hesays: "The 
ascent to the upper gallery to th^; temple, was by a hundred 
steps upon the pavement, whereof some tolerably large tow- 
ers were erected. In this they had lodged about five hundred 
men, chosen out of 
the Mexican nobili- 
ty, and were so fully 
bent upon maintain- 
ing it, that they had 
provided themselves 
with arms, amuni- 
tion, and all other 
necessaries for many 

Gomara, speaking 
of the various towns 
which were planted 
in the middle of the 
lake, says: "They 
are adorned with 
many temples, which 
have many fayre tow- 
ers that beautify, ex- 
ceedingl\-, the lake." 

In speaking of the 
city of Mexico, and ''"^ 
the towers which 
abound in the city, 
he says: "Upon the 
causeway are many 
draw bridges built 
upon arches that the 
•water passes through. 
The strength of e\- 
ery town is the tem- 
ple, which is built with a pyramid and stairs, and towers upo^^ 
the summit. Besides the palaces, which stand upon the pyramid, 
there are loft)' towers. The great temple occupied the centre 
of the ciry. The wall about the temple, was built of stone 
and lime, and very thick, eight feet high, and covered with 
battlements ornamented with strange figures, in the shape of 
serpents. It had four gates to the cardinal p jints, correspond - 


•DeSoIis' History of the Conquest of Mexico. Boak IV. Page7i6. 









in^ to the streets, the broadest and longest of which, led to 
Iztaclopoca, Tacuba, and Tezcuco. Over each of the gates 
was an arsenal filled with a vast quantity of weapons. The 
space within the temple wall was paved with very smooth 
stones, in the middle was raised an immense solid building of 
greater length than width. This building consisted of five 
stages. The lowest was more than fifty perches long, and for- 
ty-three perches broad; the second and third about a perch 
less, so that upon each there remained a free space which 
would allow three or four men to walk abreast, with as man)'' 
separate stair-cases. The height of the building, without the 
towers, was eighteen perches, and, with the towers, twenty- 
eight perches. 
From the height 
one might see the 
lake and the cities 

As to the city of 
Mexico, it is well 
known that there 
were, at the time 
of the conquest by 
Cortez, many tem- 
ples, which were 
called Teocalli. 
These were in the 
form of pyramids 
which stood in the 
centre of an enclo- 
sure, and were sur- 
rounded by a num- 
ber of shrines or 
smaller temples. 

The following is 
De Solis' descrip- 
tion of the Great 
Temple or Teocalli 
which is situated 
in the center of Mexico, and is represented by the plate, but 

The first part of the building was a great square with a wall of hewn 
stone; wrought on the outside with the various knots of serpents in- 
tertwisted, which gave a horror to the portico and were not improperly 
placed. At a little distance from the principal gate was a place of wor- 
ship that was terrible. It was built of stone, with thirty steps of the same, 
which went up to the top, which was a kind of long flat root, and a great 
many trunks of well grown trees fixed in it in a row, with holes bored in 

Of the two plates, one represents the temple or Teocalli, described by De Solis, the othtr 
represents the cathedral, forts and houses erected by the Spaniards after Cortez had destroyed 
the first city and laid in ruins the various temples which were scatteied through it. The fignies 
over the gateways of the old temple do not properly represent the originals for these wer« 
irrought out of solid stone and were covered with hideous serpents' uings and tails and a 
ghastly skull in the center, the whole presenting a terrifying appearance. 



them at equal distances and through which from one to another passed 
several bars run through the heads of men who had been sacrificed. The 
iour sides of the square had as many gates opening to the four winds. 
Over each of these gates were four statues of stone which seemed to 
point the way, as if they were desirous of sending back such as approach- 
ed with an ill disposition of mind. These were presumed to be threshold 
gods, bacause they had some reverences paid them at tbe entrance. Close 
to the inside of the wall were the habitations of the priests, and of those 
who, under them, attended the services of the temple with soma offices 
which altojiether took up the whole circumference within, retrenching so 
much from°that vast square that but eight or ten thousand persons had suf- 
ficient room to dance in upon their solemn festivals. In the center of this 
square stood a pile of stones, which in the open air exalted, its lofty head 
overlooking all the towers of the city; gradually diminishing till it formed 
a pyramid; three of its sides were smooth; the fourth had stairs wrought 
in the stone; a sumptuous building and extremely well proportioned. It 
-was so high that the stair-case contained a hundred and twenty steps, and 
of so large a compass that on the top it terminated in a flat forty foot 
square. The pavement was beautifully laid with Jasper stones o( all col- 
ors. The rails which went round in nature of a balustrade, were of a 
serpentine form and both sides covered with stones resembling jet, placed 
in good order and joined with white and red cement, which was a very 
great ornament to the building. There were other pla(?es where similar 
temples were situated the remains of which are still standing, 

Various authors have spoken of the Teocalli of Mexico, 
Humboldt says: 

"The construction of the Teocilli recalls the oldest monuments which 
the history of tbe civilized race reaches. 

The temple of Jupiter, the pyramids of Meidoum, and the group of 
Sakkarah in Egypt, were also immense heaps of bricks; the remaining of 
which have beeli preserved during a period of thirty centuries, down to our 

Bancroft says: "The historical annals of aboriginal times confirm- 
ed by the Spanish records of the conquest, leave no doubt that the chief 
object of the pyramid was to support a temple; the discovery of a tomb 
with human remains may indicate that it served also for burial purposes. 
These temples have disappeared along with the palaces and private 
houses, and scarcely a building remains to remind us of the condition of the 
city as'it was seen by the Spaniards. 

The principle monuments of Mexico, the Calendar Stone, the so- 
called Sacrificial Stone, and the Idol, called Teoyaomiqui, were all dug up 
in the Plaza, where the great Teocalli is supposed to have stood, and where 
they were doubtless thrown down, and buried from the sight of the natives 
at the time of the conquest." 

There are, however, localities not far from the city, which 
retain a few vestiges and remains of the ancient temples. 
Among them may be mentioned the city which, at the time of 
the conquest, stood out boldly in the midst of the waters of 
the lake, and were connected with the central city, and the 
shores, by the famous causeway or dyke over which the Span- 
iards retreated. 

Among these may be mentioned Tezcuco, the ancient rival 
of Mexico. This city yet presents traces of her aboriginal archi- 
tectural structures. In the southern part are the foundations 
of several large pyramids. Tylor found traces of two large 

These Teocallis were common in Mexico and suggest the 



cruel practices of the Aztecs, They were furnished with sac- 
rificial stones and were places in which human sacrifices were 
offered to the sun. 

In these sacrifices the victim was stretched upon the stone 
and his heart torn out and offered to the sun, but his body was 
hurled down the steps of the pyramid and afterward devoured 
by the people. 

On the contrary, the temples of the Mayas of Central 
America were furnished with tablets and sculptured figures 
which were suggestive only of peaceable scenes, and a mild and 
kindly religion. 

We may say of these temples that they differed from those 
of the old world, though the pyramid seems to have served as 
the foundations for all. 

An illustration 
of this will be seen 
in the cut, which 
represents the dif- 
ferent forms o f 
temples in the 
Eastern continent 
the Egyptian, the 
Assyrian, the Thi- 
betan and Scan- 
dinavian, all of which were of pyramidal style. 

There were, to be sure, shrines in Babylonia, some of them 
situated high up in the sides of the rocks, with columns and 
figures, and inscriptions in front of them; others, on the sum- 
mit of pyramids or towers. There were shrines among the 
rock cut temples of India, and the most of them contained im- 
ages of the personal divinities, those of Brahma, Siva, Vishnu 
and Indra. In China, shrines are often found in the Pagodas 
and are surrounded by a court which is filled with images. 

Such shrines are at present very common in all parts of 
the world, in India, China, and America; and the supposition 
is, that they were survivals from pre-historic times, but origi- 
nated in the rectangular house, which, because, it was a home 
became very sacred. In Mexico and Central America there 
were temples which were rectangular in shape, and were placed 
upon the summit of circular or oblong pyramids, and were 
reached by stair-ways placed upon the four sides of the pyra- 
mids, every part of them being symbolic of the nature powers 
the sky, the four parts of the compass, and the earth. They 
were called caracols, and were very sacred. It is not known 
from what source they were derived, but a supposition is, that 
they were the survivals of the primitive hut. In favor of this 
is the fact that the figure of a hut is often seen sculptured on 
the doorways of the palaces and temples, with the image of the 
divinity seated inside the door, and a manitou face above the 
door, conveying the idea that it represented the primitive 


shrine, which was in itself the survival of the still earlier hut or 
house. Such circular structures are found at Mayapan, at Copan 
and at Chichen-Itza, and everywhere retaining the same shape. 
Thecaracolor round tower of Chichen-Itza has been described 
by Mr.W. H. Holnies. It is upon the summit of a pyramid and 
consists of two stories, one above the other, with a central col- 
umn or core, seven feet in diameter, with annular galleries five 
feet wide, connected by winding stairs, also supporting but- 
tresses in the walls, the whole finished with heavy cornices. 

VI. This leads us to a view of the temple, as a shrine, and 
especially as a shrine situated on the summit of a pyramid. It 
will be understood that there were no such temples in Egypt, 
which was the land of the pyramid, for whatever shrines there 
were there, were situated either in caves hewn out of the rocks, 
or in the chambers in front of the mastabas or tombs, or in the 
interior of the columnar temples, and never upon the summit 
of pyramids. 


.LL_llLJI)UI- <MH»»^^^ ieJJ 




The rectangular shrine is the form of temple which was 
most common in Central America This generally had a 
projecting cornice, a sloping roof resembling the modern 
mansard roof, but generally surmounted by a high roof-comb 
on which were sculptured various statues and symbolic figures. 
It had square piers in front on which mythological figures 
were sculptured. 

The best preserved temples are those found at Xochicalco 
the hill of flowers. Here is a natural elevation of conical form, 
with an old base over two miles in circumference, rising from 
the plain to a height of nearly four hundred feet. 

Five terraces, paved with stone and mortar, and supported 
by perpendicular walls of the same material, extend in oval 
form entirely round the whole circumference of the hill, one 
above the other. Neither the width of the paved platforms^ 
nor the height of the supporting walls, have been given by any 
explorer, but each terrace, with the corresponding interniedi- 
ate slope, constitutes something over seventy feet of the height. 

Shrines upon the summit of pyramids are more numerous 
in America than any where else, and, for this reason, we will 

• 1 


confine our study of them to this continent. It may be said 
that there were formerly shrines in Mexico, and that here they 
were situated on the summit of pyramids, but very few speci- 
mens remain; one at Xochicalco, and one situated upon the 
summit of a mountain called La Casa del Tepozteco being the 
most notable. Altars were an essential part of the Teocallis 
and were used for human sacrifices. In Central America the 
temples were generally in the form of shrines and suggested a. 
peaceable form of worship. 

There is one peculiarity of the shrines of Central America 
which is especially worthy of notice. Instead of containing- 


an altar, as do many of the shrines and temples of Mexico,, 
they contain sculptured tablets on which are portrayed the- 
symbols of religion, the cross in one, the face of the sun itv 
another, and the globe with a human figure seated upon it in a 
third. In one shrine, represented in the cut, there was a win- 
ged globe reminding us of the Egyptian symbol, on another 
were sculptured the figures of females, each bearing a child in- 
her arms. In the rear of the shrine the tablets are so placed 
that the sun would shine through the doors and make them re- 
splendent by its rays. The shrines were constructed with a 
double cornice and a sculptured facade, and were reached by 
wide stairways. The temple of the Beau Relief is howexer 
more interesting than this, for in this shrine was a finely sculp- 
tured figure seated gracefully upon a globe which was support- 
ed by an animal headed throne. There were other shrines in 
Central America, all of which suggest the worship of the sun 
and the heavenly bodies, but never suggest human sacrifices 
as does the Teocalli of Mexico. 

The same kind of a construction appeared in all the cities 
of Mexico. Humboldt says among the tribes from the 
7th to the I2th century, appeared in Mexico, five were enum- 
erated as follows: Toltecs, Chicemecs, Acolhuas, Tsaltecs, 
Aztecs, who spoke the same language, observed the same wor- 


^hip, constructed the same kind of pyramidal edifices, which 
they regarded as houses of their gods. These edifices, though 
of dimensions very different, had all the same form. They were 
pyramids of several stories, the sides of which were placed in 
exactly the direction of the meridian and parallel of the place. 
The teocallis arose from the middle of a vast enclosure sur- 
rounded by a wall. This enclosure, which one may compare 
to the temple of the Greeks, contained gardens, fountains, habi- 
tations for the priests, and, sometimes, even magazines for 
arms, for each house of the Mexican god. A great staircase 
Jed to the top of the truncated pyramid, on the summit of 


which was a platform, on which were one or two chapels in the 
iorm of idols of the diviniiy to which the teocalli was dedicat- 
ed This part of the edifice ought to be regarded as the 
most sacred. It was there, the priest kept up the sacred fire. 
By the peculiar arrangement of the edi.'ices, the sacrifices 
could be seen by a great mass of people at the same time, 
and from a distance. The procession as it ascended, or de- 
scended the staircase of the pyramid, made an imposing ap- 
pearance. The interior of the edifice, served as a sepulchre 
for the king or priest. 

Another temple has been discovered in the Usumasintla 


Valley, at a place called Piedras Negras. There were here 
several temples hidden in the forests, and among them were 
several sacrificial stones; also alarge number of Stelae or carved 
tablets with human figures upon them. There was also an Ac- 
ropolis between tv o of the temples with a stair-way leading to 
its summit. One of the most interesting temples in Mexico is 
one discovered and described by parties from the city of New 
York. This temple was upon a height that was almost inac- 
cessible, and overlooked the vast plain in the centre of which 
was the beautiful lake. 

It is a most picturesque spot, and, formerly supported a 
large population. On one of the most inaccessible peaks of 
the northern range of mountains, at a point which commands a 
view over the whole region was erected the old temp!e. Reach- 
ing the summit, we find, an irregular surface, divided into two 
parts, connected by a narrow neck; upon the western part is 
the temple; the eastern part contains vestiges of low walls, and 
terraces, occupying nearly the entire area. These may be the 
remains of the houses of the priests, the guardians of the sac- 
red spot. 

It is probable that a fire was lighted upon the altar which 
crowned the summit of this mountain and it could be seen at 
a great distance. If human victims were offered at this spot 
the sacrifice could be witnessed by the multitudes who were as- 
sembled in the plains below and the locality, with its surround- 
ings, conspired with the ceremonies to make it a most ghastly 
scene, and such a sacrifice as would fill all spectators with awe 
and fear. 

VII. We now pass to another and a very interesting class 
of temples, a class which was numerous in the historic lands 
of the East, but was also common in America during prehis- 
toric times. The peculiarity of these temples was that they 
were built in the columnar style and were adorned with corni- 
ces and sculptured facades which gave them a very artistic ap- 

There were many columnar temples in America in prehis- 
toric times. They however differed very much from those 
which have been known to history, as the most of them were 
placed upon the summit of a pyramid and were reached by a 
high flight of stairs, but were to a great extent inaccessible to 
the common people. In fact some of them were guarded 
against approach by objects which were calculated to inspire 
every superstitious person with awe and fear- The most not- 
able of these temples were those situated at Palenque especi- 
ally at Chichen Itza and Uxmal. In the former place there 
were two such temples, one of which is represented in the cut 
reproduced from Charnay's celebrated work entitled The An- 
cient Cities of the New World. The following is his descrip- 
tion of the temple: 


"The Castillo, or rather temple, is reared on a pyramid facing north 
and south, is the most interesting at Chichen. The four sides of the pyra- 
mid are occupied by staircases facing the cardinal points. The base mea- 
sures 175 ft. It consists of nine small esplanades or terraces, narrowing 
as they ascend, but supported by perpendicular walls. The upper plat- 
form is 68 feet above the level and is reached by a flight of ninety steps 
38 feet wide, on each side of which is a balustrade formed by a gigantic 
plumed serpent, whose body ran down the balustrade and whose nose and 
tongue protruded 8 ft. beyond the foot of the stairway. On the summit is 
a structure 39 ft, on one side and 28 ft. high. The northern facade consists 
of a portico supported by two massive columns representing two serpents' 
heads, while the shafts were ornamented by feathers, showing that the tem- 
ple was dedicated toCu- 
culcan, the god of rain. 
These two shafts are 
almost exact represen- 
tations of a Toltec col- 
umn unearthed at Tu- 
la, though the two col- 
umns were found three 
hundred leagues from 
each oth er and sepa- 
rated by an interval of 
several centuries. 

Mr. W. H. Holmes 
has also described the 
same temple, but has 
shown that the capitals 
of these serpent col- 
umns were in reality 
gigantic serpent tails 
which projected be- 
yond the cornice and 
supported the wooden 
lintels, though the ser- 
pent form has been im- 
paired so as to be hard 
ly perceptible. 

It is to be notic- 
ed that some of the 
shrines or temples 
of Central America 
have winged circles 
surmounting the 
doorways which re- 
mind us of those 
whichsurmount the 

Egyptian temples, though the feathers of the wings are turned 
up instead of down and the ends rest upon an ornament which 
resembles a curved bow, one such temple being found at Oca- 
cingo. There is also a temple on the Island of Cozumel 
which has columns in front of the shrine, one of which is 
carved into th6 shape of a human figure kneeling, but support- 
ing on his shoulders the capital and the lintel. 

In Egypt, the tomb was in the shape of a house, and yet, it 
was a temple, for the friends of the deceased came and sat in 
the chamber which was a part of the tomb, and partook of 
their feasts. The spirit of the deceased was also sup- 

obelisks and COLUMN AT KARNAK. 



















posed to be present, and to partake of the food which was rep- 
resented by sculptured figures upon the wall. 

The temples of Egypt, became the most attractive struct- 
ures in the world, but they owed their attractiveness to the 
fact that they were built in the shape of a palace rather than of 
a pyramid, and their interior was filled with all the decora- 
tions of art and architecture of which the genius of Egyptians 
was capable. The exterior of the Egyptian temple was some- 
what exclusive, for it was surrounded on three sides by a dead 
wall, without any openings, and covered, only by the sculptur- 
ed figures of kings and priests; on the fourth side, there was a 
lofty gateway, which hid the temple partly from view, but the 
interior was very imposing. In this, the temples of Egypt 
differed from the temples of Babylonia, for there the outside 
only, was attractive, the inside had no features worthy of no- 
tice. The Babylonian temple was generally a ziggurat or tower 
which arose in separate terraces to a great height, each terrace 
being ornamented in a different way and, having a different 
color. The shrine was upon the summic, but was inaccessi- 
ble to the people. The Babylonian tower was imposing for its 
height, and, standing, as it did, near the palace, and overtop- 
ping the city, conveyed an impression similar to that of the 
pyramids, but the art of the Babylonians was expended upon 
the pahce rather than the temple. The temple in both count- 
ries, was the place for religious processions, but in Babylonia, 
the processions were led around the tower, upon the outside 
very much as they were around theTeocalli or pyramid temple 
of Mexico; but the processions in Egypt were led into the 
temples through long avenues guarded by human headed stat- 
ues or sphinxes until the lofty propyleum was reached; there 
the ceremony became more exclusive; the worshipers were lecK 
into the temple through the various courts, within which: 
were lofty columns arranged in clusters, and finished in the 
highest style of art with their capitals, carved in the shape of: 
the lotus, which was the sacred flower of the Egyptians, theLt;- 
sides covered with sculptured figures and painted with most 
beautiful colors. The great stone beams surmounting the col- 
umns and the imposing walls gave the impression of grandeur 
which was superior, if possible, to any thing which could be 
seen in the world. 

The Greek temple was also in the form of a palace, but in« 
stead of having the pillars or columns upon the inside, and the 
dead walls upon the outside, it followed the opposite pattern 
for the Greek temple was always surrounded by columns, 
while the interior was occupied by the statue of the divinity,or 
was a mere shrine, where a few might assemble. Still the Greek 
temple never lost its resemblance to the house. The decora- 
tions of art were heaped upon the frieze and front, and the 
mythology of the ancients «vas embodied in the statuary tha 
surrounded it. 


The plates represent the different kinds of temples which 
prevailed at an early date throughout the world, and at the 
same time illustrates the progress of temple architecture 
through its different stages. It will be seen from them that 
while the temple was always the home of the Divinity, yet it 
was guarded from intrusion by various barriers, either by be- 
ing placed upon the summit of a high pyramid, with balus- 
trades in the form of huge serpents, or being built within a 
walled inclosure with high gateways in front of it, or as in the 
case of the temples of Greece, being built upon heights of 
ground, which were used as citadels, and so were safe from 
assault. The situation of the temples, however, depended up- 
on the character of the country. Those of Egypt were built 
upon the plain, with walls of stone surrounding them, but 
with a single entrance through the lofty gateway, having col- 
umns extending through the interior until the shrine was 
reached; while those of Greece were perched upon rocky 
promontories, such as the Acropolis of Athens and Corinth, 
and stood unenclosed,with highly ornamented columns surroun- 
ding them on all sides. The temples themselves seldom arose 
to a great height, but were furnished with towers or lofty col- 
umns or obelisks, or were placed upon rocky heights, so that 
they became very imposing in their appearance, and yet never 
lost their original semblance. The chief charms of the tem- 
ples of Greece and Rome were the graceful columns placed in 
single or double rows, surmounted by coping stones which 
formed a crown to the columns, above which arose a roof peak 
in whose gable ends was grouped the most elaborate sculpture. 
The Parthenon stood upon the Acropolis, the most perfect 
specimen of the Doric order. The temple of Theseus stood 
upon a gentle knoll, the complete embodiment of the Ionic 
order, while the temple of Jupiter, the embodiment of the Cor- 
inthian order, stood upon the level plain. In Egypt colors of 
various hues adorned the columns, but in Greece they were 
made of purest and whitest marble. The temple, however, 
was everywhere a most imposing structure, wherever it ap- 
peared, whether upon the heights of Zion, overlooking Jeru- 
salem, or in the city of Thebes, not far away from the ancient 
pyramids, or in the stately city of Rome, where palaces 
abounded, or in the far off tropical forests of America. 





















Much has been written about the Province of Mexico and 
its history. Descriptions have also been given of its antiquities 
and scenery by various authors, but very few engravings have 
been furnished which would illustrate this or give any idea of 
the topography. It is fortunate that the means for securing 
good pictures of natural features have been increased so much^ 
and that the expense has been so much lessened, for the result 
is that many of the magazines are publishing these pictures 
and making the scenery of our sister republic familiar to the 
common people. It is a remarkable fact that the railroads have 
become educators; they not only carry tourists and intelligent 
travellers to the distant places, but they bring near to their 
own patrons and to all classes the scenes which are reproduced 
and published. 

All the writers who have ever visited Mexico speak of the 
wonderful beauty and variety of the scenery, and describe the 
country as presenting " many charming views which unfold be- 
fore the traveller's gaze; dazzling light and colors mmgled with 
rich tints, and rich fertile valleys interwoven betvveen high 
mountains." The countr}' has been divided into three parts: 
first, the region near the coast, which is very low and hot and 
called "Terra Caliente"; it has a tropical climate and the 
vegetation is such as grows in the tropics. Malaria prevails 
and it is unhealthy for any, except the natives. Next to this 
is the region which is called the " Terra Templada," a temper- 
ate belt adjacent to the region before mentioned. Still further 
into the interior is the "Terra Fria," a cool tableland. This, 
is best known in history and was at an early date the seat of a 
high grade of civilization. It is a plateau raised some 5,000 to 
8,000 feet above the sea, and has several mountain peaks rising 
to a great height above it; the mountains being very conspicu- 
ous at great distances. Prominent among these mountains are 
Orizaba, '"the star mountain"; Popocatepetl, "the mountain 
of smoke," and Izzacelhuatl, "the white woman." 

For variety and striking contrasts the climate and scenery 
of Mexico are surpassed by no region of equal extent in the 
world. One rises as he passes from the sea to the interior 
from the hot borderland to a temperate belt, and then reaches, 
the Terra Fria, or cool, elevated plateau, and may finally 
reach the region of perpetual snow. The plateau is variegated 
with many lakes. The soil, almost everywhere fertile, is over 
spread with a variety of nopal, maguey, and forests of ever- 
green, among which the graceful fir and umbrageous oak stand 


conspicuous. Seasons come and go and leave no mark behind; 
or it may be said that spring, satisfied with its abode there, 
takes up its perpetual rest; the temperature is ever mellow, 
with resplendant sunshine by day, while at night the stars 
shine with a brilliancy nowhere excelled. 

As to the native inhabitants, at the time of the conquest a 
large portion of this region, as well as a part of Central America, 
was occupied by those natives we call civilized, but even then 
there was a great difference between the people. The natives 
of the valley of Mexico are represented as tall, well-made, and 
robust. Throughout the tableland the men are muscular and 
well-proportioned. In Vera Cruz they are somewhat shorter — 
from four feet six inches to five feet in height— and clumsily 
made, having their knees farther apart than Europeans, and 
walk with their toes turned in; they are of a darker complexion 
than those on the tablelands. 

The natives as a whole, have been classed by Humboldt 
"with the aborigines of Canada, Peru, Florida, and Brazil, 
having elongated eyes, prominent cheeks, large lips, and a 
sweet expression about the mouth, forming a strong contrast 
with their otherwise gloomy and severe aspect." 

According to Prescott they bear a strong resemblance to 
the Egyptians, but Violet le Due asserts that the Malay type 
predominates. Rossi says that their physiogmony resembles 
that of the Asiatics. The question of race and origin has not 
yet been decided. Dr. Brinton, who held to the unity of the 
American race, would, of course, class them with the tribes of 
the North. Prof. Mason claims that the linguistic families 
may hd divided into Shoshone tongues for the United States, 
the Piman for the Sonoran area, and the Nahuan for the great 
southern groups. The Apaches, who belong to the Athapascan 
stock, are stragglers into northern Mexico. The Maya-Quiche 
stock were situated farther south in Mexico and Central 
America. Here, then, we have the race question simplified by 
names which are familiar and easily understood. The other 
tribes, such as the Miztecs, Otiemis, Seri, Yuman, Tlascala, 
and Totonaca, are smaller and scattered tribes, whose langu- 
ages have not yet been traced to their origin. 

There has been, according to Mr. Walter Hough, a mixture 
of Oriental influences since the time of the Spanish conquest, 
and the Philippines have contributed to the products and the 
plants of Mexico, as trade and commerce was carried on by 
the Spaniards, between Mexico and Manila, and between Manila 
and China. This commerce and contact beginning as early as 
1545, in the reign of Philip II., naturall)- complicates the 
archaeology of the region, for there naturally would be certain 
articles and relics mingled with the ancient in such a way as to 
be taken for prehistoric relics. 

It is probable, also, that the architecture of Mexico was 
very much affected by this contact with the Spanish on the 
one side, and vvith the natives of the Philippines on the other, 


for a great variety appeared at a very early date. Mr. Hough 
says that all the circular houses in Mexico are of African 
origin, the style having been introduced by negroes; the native 
houses having been original!}- rectangular. This ma)' be so, 
though there are many circular huts with thatched roofs repre- 
sented in the fagades of the Maya palaces. 

Charnay, to be sure, held that the Toltec house was a square 
building, and that the hieroglyph Calli became the type of a 
particular form of architecture, wliich everywhere prevails; 
the walls, cornice, and roof, always being constructed after the 
same pattern. He compares the temple at Palenque to the 
Japanese temple, giving two cuts to illustrate his point.* 

Shall we say, then, that the Toltec t)pe of architecture was 
introduced from Japan, and the ordinary style of huts in use 
were introduced from Africa? In that case we must give up 
the idea of a native growth, of both art and architecture, and 
make everything foreign, or extra limital in its origin. 

The point which we make in this connection is, that in 
Mexico there is, even at the present time, a great variety of 
architecture; some of it having been introduced from Spain; 
some, perhaps, from Manila; some from the United States; 
some from the ancient Maya races of Yucatan; some styles 
surviving from the ancient Nahua civilization, and some intro- 
duced, as Mr. Hough says, from Africa by negroes who were 

The question is, what was the original type and by what 
tribe was the ancient style introduced. We must remember 
that there was a great difference between the wild tribes and 
the civilized in the days of the conquest, and that the cities 
were very different from the rural districts. Take, for illustra- 
tion, the landing of Cortez and his troops and their march toward 
the City of Mexico. It will be remembered that he landed on 
the coast at Vera Cruz, but as he advanced toward the capital 
he found a tribe called the Tlascalans, who had for a long time 
contended with the Aztecs of Mexico. Surrounded as they 
were by natural barriers of mountains, with a mountain pass, 
where they had established a fort as a gate between them and 
their etiemies. they were as isolated almost as if in another 
Ian i. Here Cortez rallied this people to his banner, and with 
their help was able to overcome the city. 

The following is Mr. Prescott's description of Cortez'^ 
march from the sea: " It was the i6th of August. 15 19. Dur- 
ing the first day their road lay through the Terra Caliente, the 
beautiful land where they had been so long lingering; the land 
of the vanilla, cochineal, cocao (not till later days of the 
orange and the sugar-cane); products, which indigenous to 
Mexico, have now become the luxuries of Europe; the land 
where the fruits and the flowers chase one another in an un- 
broken circle through the year; where the gales are loaded 

• See " .\ncient Cities of the New World," page 250. 


with perfumes until the sense aches at their sweetnees, and the 
groves are filled with many colored birds, and insects whose 
enamelled wings glisten like diamonds in the bright sun of the 
tropics. Such are the splendors of this paradise of the senses. 

" At the close of the second day they reached Xalapa, a 
place still retaining the same Aztec name. This town stands 
midway up the long ascent, at an elevation where the vapors 
from the ocean, touching in their westerly progress, maintain 
a rich verdure throughout the year. From this delicious spot, 
the Spaniards enjoyed one of the grandest prospects in nature. 
Before them was the steep ascent, much steeper after this point, 
which they were to climb. On the right rose the Sierra Madre, 
girt with its dark belt of pines, and its long lines of shadowry 
hills stretching away in the distance. To the south, in brilliant 
contrast, stood the mighty Orizaba, with its white robes of 
snow descending far down its sides; towering in solitary 
grandeur, the giant spectre of the Andes. Behind them, they 
beheld, unrolled at their feet, the magnificent terra caliente, 
with its gay confusion of meadows, streams, and flowering 
forests, sprinkled over with shining Indian villages; while a 
faint line of light on the edge of the horizon told them that 
there was the ocean, beyond which were the kindred^ and 
country — they were many of them never more to see. They 
had reached the level of more than 7,000 feet above the ocean, 
where the great sheet of tableland spreads out for hundreds of 
miles along the crests of the Cordilleras. The country showed 
signs of careful cultivation, but the products were for the most 
part not familiar to the eyes of the Spaniards. Fields and 
hedges of the various kinds of the cactus, the towering organ- 
um, and plantations of aloes with rich yellow clusters of 
flowers on their tall stems, affording drink and clothing to the 
Aztecs, were everywhere seen. 

" Suddenly the troops came upon what seemed the environs 
of a populous city, which, as they entered it, appeared to sur- 
pass even that of Cempoalla in the size and solidity of its 
structures. They were of stone and lime, many of them 
spacious and tolerably high. There were Teocallis in the 
place, and in the suburbs they had seen a receptacle in which, 
according to Bernal Diaz, were stored 100,000 skulls of victims, 
all piled and ranged in order. The lord of the town ruled over 
20,000 vassals. The Spanish commander remained in the city 
four or five days. Their route afterward opened on a broad 
and verdant valley watered by a noble stream. All along this 
river, on both sides of it, an unbroken line of Indian dwellings, 
so near as almost to touch one another, e.xtended for three or 
four leagues; arguing a population much denser than at present. 
On a rough and rising ground stood a town, that might contain 
five or six thousand inhabitants, commanded by a fortress, which 
with its walls and trenches seemed to the Spaniards quite on a 
level with similar works in Europe. As they advanced into a 
country of rougher and bolder features, their progress was sud- 


denly arrested by a remarkable fortification. It was a stone 
wall, nine feet in height and twenty in thickness, with a para- 
pet, a foot and a half broad, raised on the summit for the pro- 
tection of those who defended it. It had only one opening in the 
centre, made by two semicircular lines of wall overlapping each 
other for the space of forty paces, and affording a passage- 
way between the parts, so contrived, therefore, as to be per- 
fectly commanded by the inner wall. This fortification, which 
extended more than two leagues, rested at either end on the 
bold, natural buttresses formed by the Sierra Madre. The 
work was budt of immense blocks of stone, nicely laid together 
without cement; and the remains still existing, among which 
are rocks of the whole breadth of the rampart, fully attest its 
solidity and size. This singular structure marked the limits of 
Tlascala, and was intended, as the natives told the Spaniards, 
as a barrier against the Mexican invasions. The army paused, 
filled with amazement at the contemplation of this cyclopean 
monument, which naturally suggested reflections on the 
strength and resources of the people who had raised it. 

"The fruitfulness of the soil was indicated by the name of 
the country— Tlascala, signifying the land of bread. The 
mountain barriers by which Tlascala is encompassed, afforded 
many strong natural positions of defence.*" 

The march of the army afterward brought the Spaniards to 
a point where they could get a view of the whole region, with 
its lofty mountain peaks, which lifted their snow-covered heads 
toward the sky; also the great plateau stretched out toward the 
sea. To the west of them stood the mysterious pair of vol- 
canoes, like sentinels watching over the scene. Below was the 
rich valley of Mexico, with its beautiful lakes and many cities. 

Prcscott says: "The sides of the sierra were clothed with 
dark forests of pine, express, and cedar, through which 
glimpses now and then opened into fathomless dells and val- 
leys, whose depths, far down in the sultry climate of the 
tropics, were lost in a glowing wilderness of vegetation. From 
the crest of the mountain range the eye travelled over the 
broad expanse of country which they had lately crossed, far 
away to the green plains of Cholula. Towards the west they 
looked down on the Mexican valley, from a point of view 
wholly different from that which they had before occupied, but 
still offering the same beautiful spectacle, with its lakes tremb- 
ling in the light ; its gay cities and villas floating on their bosom ; 
its teocallis touched with fire; its cultivated slopes and dark 
hills of porphyry stretching away in dim perspective to the 
verge of the horizon. At their feet lay the city of Tezcuco, 
which, modestly retiring behind her deep groves of cypress, 
formed a contrast to her more ambitious rival on the other side 
of the lake, who seemed to glory in the unveiled splendors of 
her charms as Mistress of the Valley." f 

•See Prescott's "Conquest of Mexico," Vol. I , page 278. 
tSee Prescott's "Conquest of Mexico," Vol. II., pages 35-36. 


Now, this picture, which our much admired and learned 
historian has drawn, is very suggestive, for it convinces us that 
the very scenery and topography which so impressed the 
Spaniards on their arrival, had also affected that remarkable 
people which had grown up in the midst of these environments 
and had developed so strange a civilization in these different 
regions. It was undoubtedl)- owing to the fertility of the soil 
and the resources of the country that the Aztec tribe, who had 
settled beside the beautiful lake, had grown into a powerful 
people, and were able to usurp power over all other tribes. 
This situation had already developed in them an aggressive spirit, 
so that the native chiefs were in a fair way to become, like 
the Iiicas of Peru, the despots who held all the region under 
their control. 

As to the architecture which existed in this region at the 
time of the conquest, we cannot say that this originated with 
the Aztecs or Miztecs, or any ot the known tribes of the 
Nahuas, or that they were at all influenced by the scenery or 
the surroundings, for according to all accounts they were in- 
herited by that mysterious people called the Toltecs, who in 
turn had received them from the people of the Maya stock, 
their beginning dating as far back as the Christian era 

It appears that architecture in Mexico reached during the 
prehistoric age, a stage of advancement quite equal to that 
which prevailed in other parts of the world during ^he early 
days of histor}', and yet it was an architecture which arose dur- 
ing the Stone Age — the structures which were erected, having 
been brought into their shape by the aid of stone tools alone, 
and without any of the appliances which other nations seem to 
have adopted, though a few copper implements, perhaps, 
were used for the more delicate touchings of prehistoric sculp- 

It may be that the architecture and the art should be 
assigned to what is coming to be called, "the Copper Age.'^ 
rather than the Stone Age; yet even with this distinction,— it 
is a matter of wonder that a rude uncivilized people could 
have accomplished so much in this direction. Some maintain 
that there was a period in Greece and Asia Minor when art and 
architecture reached a very high stage, and that there was after- 
wards a decline; the age immediately preceding the opening 
of history being in reality in advance of that which followed; 
but here — in Mexico — there was no decline until the advent of 
the Spaniards, and the subjugation of the people to their op- 
pressive dominion. It is not strange that the barbaric magni- 
ficence of the so-called cities of Mexico surprised the con- 
querors, and that they compared the palaces and temples which 
thev saw, to the Alhambra and other wonders of architecture 
in Europe. Nor is it surprising that their descriptions of what 
they saw should seem like exaggerations, for they were un- 
doubtedly colored and made vivid by an imagination which 
had been excited by this strange scene into which thej- had 


entered. It is not easy, even at the present day, to look 
through the mountain scenery upon the modern cities, without 
being deepl\- impressed. But to the discoverers, as they looked 
down upon those marvelous ancient cities which were scattered 
through the beautiful valleys and spread along the shores of 
the silvery lakes, they seemed like the visions of another world. 
Those cities were laid in ruins, and nearly everj'thing that had 
been erected by the native races has vanished from the sight. 
All is modern and new, yet every traveler who visits IMexico, 
and who examines the remains of the glory which has departed, 
is impressed with the superiority of the architecture of the 
prehistoric races. 

It will be, then, instructive to take the testimony of a few 
of those travelers, who have visited Mexico, and give a picture 
of the scenery and the architecture as they described it. The 
archaeologists may be divided into two classes: the one class is 
disposed to magnify the excellence of the art and architecture 
of IMexico and Central America, and to make the civilization 
of a superior character. Such take the descriptions of the 
early historians and writers as literally true, and do not dis- 
criminate between that which was imaginative and that which 
was real. The other class take a theory for their guidance, and 
enter these provinces with the purpose to prick the bubble of 
exaggeration, and bring everything to familiar standards, and 
are inclined to reduce everything down to the level of a rude 
aboriginal culture, which had not reached even the level of the 
barbaric races in other countries. Among the first class we 
will place M. D. Charnay, the famous archaeologist, and Mr. 
H. H. Bancroft, the historian. In the other class, Mr. L. H 
Morgan, the famous ethnologist, and Mr. Ad. F. Bandelier. 
Between the two we may strike a medium, which shall be near 
the truth, and may be taken as correct. 

We begin with Mr. Charnay's description of the ancient 
ruins which he saw and the summary which he has drawn. 
He says: "We are filled with admiration for the marvelous 
building capacity of the people; for unlike most nations, they 
used every material at once; they coated their inner w^alls with 
mud and mortar, faced their outer walls with brick and stone, 
built wooden roofs, and brick and stone stair-cases. They 
were acquainted with pilasters, with caryatides, with square 
and round columns. Indeed, they seem to have been familiar 
with ever)' architectural device. That they were painters and 
decorators we have ample indications in the houses of Tula, 
where the walls are decorated with rosettes, palms, and red 
and white and grey geometrical figures on a black background. 

It is difficult to explain how, with the tools they had, they 
could cut, not only the hardest substances, but also, build the 
numerous structures which are still seen in Mexico and Central 
America, together with the sculptures, bas releaves, statues, 
and inscriptions, like those which have been discovered. 

Clavigero says that stone was worked with tools of hard 


Stone; that copper hatchets were used by carpenters, also to 
cultivate the soil and to fell trees. 

Mendieta writes that both carpenters and joiners used cop- 
per tools, but their work was not so beautiful as that of the 
sculptors, who had silex implements. 

Charna)' further says: " It is known that there arc copper 
mines in Mexico, and discoveries have been made which show 
that these mines were worked in prehistoric times. In one old 
mine there was found amid the rubbish, 142 stones of different 
dimensions, shaped like hammers and wedges, the edges of 
which were blunt or broken. Copper has been found in Chili, 
Colombia, Chihuahua, and in New Mexico. Before the con- 
quest, the Indians procured lead and tin from the mines, but 
copper was the metal used in mechanical arts." 

Bernal Diaz says: " In my second expedition the inhabi- 
tants brought upwards of 600 copper hatchets, having wooden 
handles, equisitely painted, and so polished that at first we 
thought they were gold. Copper tablets, varying m thickness 
and shaped like the Egyptian tau or crescent shaped, were 
used as currency in various regions. The American tribes had 
reached the transition point between the polished stone and 
the bronze period, which was marked by considerable pro- 
gress in architecture and some branches of science. With 
them this period lasted longer than in the Old World, owing 
to their never having come in contact with nations of higher 
civilization, or with those who possessed better tools." 

Now, it is to the development of art and architecture in 
Mexico, during the Stone and Copper Ages, that we would 
call attention. We have already intimated that this process 
began far back in the prehistoric period, and in the region far 
south of Anahuac, among the famous Maya stock, but was 
transmitted by the Toltecs. As to their origin and early his- 
tory, we are not at all certain, for there are many things 
which show that they like the Incas of Peru, had brought in 
with them a civilization which had been derived, or at least 
affected by that which prevailed thousands of years before on 
the Asiatic continent. 

The Toltecs were well instructed in agriculture and many 
of the most useful mechanical arts; were nice workers of 
metals. They invented the complex arrangements adopted by 
the Aztecs. They established their capital at Tula, north of 
the Mexican valley, and the remains of extensive buildings 
have been discovered by Charnay and others. The noble ruins 
of religious and other edifices still to be seen, are referred to 
the people whose name, Toltec, has passed into a synonym for 
architect. Theyentered the territory of Anahuac, about 600 a. d.; 
400 years later they disappeared as silently and mysteriously as 
they had entered it. After the lapse of another hundred years, 
a rude tribe, called the Chichemecs. came down from the north- 
west. Still later, the Aztecs and Tezcucans entered the land 
from the north as wild tribes, but rapidly grew into a civilized 



There was a remarkable correlation between the topography 
of Mexico and the character of the the cities located there; 
for some of them were located upon the great plateau, sur- 
rounded b}' natural defenses; others in the valley, surrounded 
by rich agricultural fields, and others near the summit of the 
mountains, where they were very conspicuous; the most inter- 
esting of all being situated near the centre of the lake itself. 

Se\'eral questions arise in connection with the ancient cities 
of Mexico, which need to be answered before we can proceed 
with the description of them. They are: First, were they 
worth)' of the name cities? second, are tha descriptions which 
were given by the Spanish historians correct, or must we rely 
upon the evidence of the archaeologists for our knowledge of 
their real character? third, what is the testimon)' of history 
concerning these cities and their early growth and progress? 
fourth, in regard to the architecture which embodied itself in 
these ancient cities: can we distinguish it from that which pre- 
ceded it, and so decide what cities belonged to the Aztec, and 
what to the Toltec period. 

I. In reference to the first question, we may say that certain 
modern writers have been disposed to reject the term city alto- 
gether from their vocabulary, when speaking of ancient places 
in America, whether found in Mexico, Central America, or 
Peru; and in its place use the term pueblo, conveying the idea 
that they were nothing more nor less than large Indian villages, 
similar to those which are still occupied in New Mexico, and 
that the people who built them were no more civilized than the 
Indian tribes of the North. We maintain, however, that there 
was a great difference between the Indian villages and the so- 
called cities, and that this difference was an index of the stage 
of culture which had been reached. 

To illustrate: we find, even at the present time, Eskimo 
villages which are mere collections of huts constructed of ice 
and snow, or of bone and bark, and approached by long pass- 
ageways. We find that the tribes in the eastern portion of thev 
continent dwelt in stockade villages, or in inclosures surrounded 
by earthworks; their houses being constructed mainly of wood. 
There are villages on the Northwest coast, which belong to 
the fishermen and hunters, the most of which are constructed 
of wood, and are arranged in a line along the water front, and 
are marked by an immense array of totem-poles, which seem 
at a distance like masts of vessels, but are indicative of the 
history and ancestry of the people. 

Tn the more central districts, especially on the plateau, the 
villages are contained in great communistic houses, many of 
which are placed upon the summits of the mesas, and are 
built of adobe or of stone. 

In Peru the villages were generally the capitals, and were 
connected with roadways which passed over the mountain; 
they were under the control of the Incas, the capital being the 
centre, where were the finest specimens of architecture. 


In Mexico and Central America people seem to have been 
gathered into large places, which were laid out after a fixed 
order and were under a central government, and abounded with 
temples, palaces, canals, bridges, fountains, and gardens, and 
contained many elaborate specimens of architecture/ 

These several types of native architecture represented the 
various grades of civilization, each one of which was confined to 
a separate geographical district and is suggestive of a distinct 
form of aboriginal culture. 

It should be remembered that these Aztec cities had 
a very different origin from the ordinary Indian villages of 
the North, and were built on a very different plan. They 
may have grown up out of rude villages, and the people 
may have come up from the clan life into a later social 
organization; yet so much of their art and architecture was 
borrowed from the civilization which had previously existed 
among the Toltecs, that the signs of their own native growth 
were lost in that which had been added to it. Every people 
owes its architecture and its art to the different elements which 
have prevailed in the region, and we can no more confound the 
Mexican city with the pueblo of New Mexico, than we can the 
modern city with the little hamlet of log houses, or the houses 
of the white man with the hut of the ordinary Indian. The 
growth of society was greatly modified by the surroundings, 
and the city which grew up in the midst of the beautiful lake 
and was connected with the banks by long artificial dykes must 
have had a very different history from that of villages which 
had been erected on the summits of the lofty mesas and which 
owed their defense to the walls by which they were surrounded, 
and their conveniences to the terraces with which they were 

There were, to be sure, other cities built upon the summits 
of mountains of Mexico, as Messrs. Holmes and Charnay have 
shown; but these mountain cities, which stretch out at great 
length and cover the entire summits, are very different from 
the compact pueblos which were compressed into one great 
house, and resembled great bee-hives with their cells occupied 
by human beings. The government of a monarch, who ruled 
over a large district and who subordinated all adjoining tribes 
to his own power, was very different from that of a village 
cacique, w^ho ruled' over a single village and had a few officers 
subject to his command, but who knew all of his people by 
name, as a father does his children. 

The Spanish historians did not stop to ask the history of the 
people before they gave the name " city " to the various places 
which they entered. They knew that they were governed by 
religious despots, and that in the midst of each, there were 
temples, where bloody sacrifices had been offered, and it was 
very natural that they should call the places cities, and their 
rulers kings or monarchs, and their religious men priests, and 
that they should apply the very terms which were in common 


use among them, in speaking of the objects which they saw. 
The\' were accustomed to the architecture which had grown 
up in Europe during the middle ages, and their minds would 
naturally revert to feudal despots, who dwelt in their castles 
and who ruled over their retainers, who lived in the surround- 
ing forests. 

It was not to be expected of the Spaniards at this time that 
they would draw the distinction between the ancient cities of 
Mexico and the ordinary Indian \illages, and certainly not to 
show the difference between the ancient cities and the pueblos 
of New Mexico, for they knew nothing of the latter. 

The names* which the Spanish historians used would of 
themsehes show very clearly that there was a \-ery different 
condition of things among the ancient Mexicans from that 
which prevailed among the northern tribes. Consequently the 
term pueblo should not be applied to the cities, nor medicine 
lodge to the temple, nor council houses to the palaces, nor jnedi- 
ci?ie men to the priests, nor tribal chiefs to the kings. Tribal 
society may have continued on a basis of kinship, but self- 
defense brought about the confederacy of the tribes of Mexico, 
and this confederacy resulted in establishing cities which were 
in reality capitals. 

The City of Mexico was divided into four principal quar- 
ters, with twenty war-chiefs, one chief representmg the element 
of worship, all under one head, the "chief of men," or king, 
who seems to have been like the monarchs of the East, clothed 
wath power of priest and king. 

II. In reference to the descriptions by the historians, it 
should be said that there were many things to account for them. 
While they have been pronounced by vari'ous critics as extrava- 
gant exaggerations, yet the latest researches are proving that 
they were in the main quite correct. There were certain influ- 
ences which would lead them to give a rose-colored view, and 
yet this was better than a tame and spiritless account. The 
reports of the discovery so recently made by Columbus and his 
company had aroused great expectations, and there would 
naturally be a desire in the minds of the writers who were de- 

•We take atrandon' from Bandelier's report the following: " The residence of the chief of 
MEN was called tecpan, the house of the community; for the official family had to wait upon 
the officers and chiefs who transacted business at the tecpan. The officer called King of Mexico, 
or Empekok of Anahuac, was Tlacateuchtli; while the major domo, or keeper of the tribute, was 
called C'ihuacohuatI, head-chief. The lands of the official house were called tecpantalli, and 
constituted tribal stores. The council was called tf.acopan, and was composed of chiefs or 
speakers and supreme judges, and sat in two different halls in the or palace; one of which 
was called the' court of nobles. The twenty independent social units composing the Mexican 
tribe were called calpulli, and were bound to avenge any wrong. The holding of a particular 
territory, a common dialect, a common tribal worship, characterized each one of these calpulli; 
but the 'city' seems to have been the centre of the government, so that there was a change go- 
ing on from the tribal stage to that of land tenure. Each calpui-LI had its particular god, which 
was worshipped as a tutelar deity within the territory, consequently each kin had its particular 
temple, and had a right to separate worship. Sahagun says that they offered many things in the 
houses which they called calpulli, which were like churches ot different quarters, where those 
of the same kin gathered to sacrifice, as for other ceremonies. 

"The great temple of the .Me.xican tribe was called calmecac, interpreted the 'Dark 
House.' This was the abode of such men as underwent severe trials preliminary to their investi- 
ture with the rank of chief. Each calpulli had a ' House of Youth 'joined to the temple. There 
were houses of education. Besides these, there was a special place for the education of th 
children of noblemen. Those who were trained for the priesthood dwelt in the house call 


scribing the new scenes into which they were entering to meet 
these expectations, and this possibly led them to exaggerate 
their reports. It was, howe\-cr, perfectly natural that they 
should draw a comparison between that which they saw in the 
New World and that which was so familiar to them in the Old, 
for their minds would inevitably revert to their native country, 
and there was no better wa\' of expressing themselves. 

It should not be considered as owing altogether to a purpose 
to deceive, that the wonderful scenes which came before their 
eyes were vividly described, for the Spaniards were a very im- 
pressible people and lived in a romantic age, and were accus- 
tomed to speak and write in figuratixe language. 

There is no doubt that the explorers were greatly surprised 
by the scenes which came to their \-ision as they landed 
upon the coast and passed into the interior, especially when 
they reached the borders of the Plateau and were able to get 
a glimpse of the beautiful \alley which was encompassed by 
the mountain ridges, and in the midst of which shone the sil- 
very waters of the lake, which was to become the scene of their 
most daring exploits. The lofty snow-covered peaks of the 
great mountains, which stood like sentinels to guard the eastern 
entrance to the valley, also impressed them with a sense of the 
sublime, for they are still counted among the highest and grand- 
est of the mountains of the world. The fact that in the midst 
of this beautiful valley there were so many so-called cities 
which were filled with a teeming population, and that so many 
of the appliances and conveniences of a native civilization were 
apparent was matter of surprise. 

This civilization has been compared to that of Europe dur- 
ing the middle ages. It might better be compared to that of 
Egypt during the time of the first four dynasties, when the 
Pyramids were erected; or to that of Babylonia, before the 
time of its conquest by the Assyrians, when the great walled 
cities covered the valley of the Tigris and the terraced pyra- 
mids and palaces began to be built; or, still better, to the civil- 
zation of India and China, when their history first began to be 
written. The Spanish historians were disposed to draw a 
parallel between this civilization and that of the feudal times, 
when there were so many lords and barons dwelling in castles, 
who held the land in their possession and ruled the masses by 
their power, making them their vassals and retainers. There 
were no knights errant and no tournaments, no pilgrimages or 
distant journeys, no such conquests as made the names of cer- 
tain kings of England famous. 

The magnificence of the Moorish architecture never ap- 
peared in Mexico. The vision of the Alhambra had never 
dawned upon this rude people, there was no such mingling of 
turrets and towers with the vast expanse of the houses of great 
cities as met the eyes of Marco Polo in his journey to the 
P.ast. The marvels of Cathay were not discovered by the 
Spaniards, though they were perhaps in hourly expectation of 


finding them. There is no doubt that their minds were tinctured 
with the stories which had been told of the cities of the East, and 
the conviction that America was a portion of the Asiatic conti- 
nent had not lost its force. It was a day of romance and 
chivalry, and the kings of Europe were satisfied with nothing 
short of romance. It cannot be laid altogether to a love of 
exaggeration, that such writers as Sahagun, Bernal Diaz, 
Torquemada,* Veytia, Ixtlilxochitl and Clavigero gave such 
rose-colored views. 

The accurracy of science was nowhere exercised, and literal 
exactness could not have been expected from them. It was, 
however, fortunate that there were those who could recognize 
the beauty of the scene, and could appreciate the inventions 
and improvements which had been wrought out by this strange 
people, who lived beyond the seas, and that they could ade- 
quately describe the style of the art and architecture which 
was prevalent. 

The cities have passed away, and the scene which so won- 
derfully impressed the Spaniards at their advent has entirely 
changed. There are, to be sure, many modern cities which 
have grown up on the very sites where were these aboriginal 
towns, and some are disposed to draw the contrast between the 
ancient and the modern; but it is better to take the picture 
which was drawn by the historians as correct, and from this learn 
what were the peculiarities of the aboriginal lite, though it may 
be necessary first, to consider the history of the people who 
dwelt there, and especially the architecture which prevailed. 

III. Let us now turn to the third question and inquire 
into the history of the Aztecs, and see how rapidly they 
grew into a semi-civilized condition, and then ask about 
the influences which had conrpired to produce this change. 
We hold that the Aztecs borrowed nearly all of their civiliza- 
tion from the Toltecs, that they adopted their style of 
architecture and their art, and yet there were certain peculiar- 
ities which distinguished the cities of the Aztecs from those of 
the Toltecs. 

The Aztecs, who built the beautiful cities and temples which 
so charmed the eyes of the Spanish conquerors, as they came 
to the summit of the great mountain ridge, which surrounded 
the Valley of Mexico, were a rude tribe, who had entered the 
valley from the north about the year 1300. They wandered for 
a time, seeking for a suitable place in which they might make 
their home, and were at last influenced, as tradition goes, by a 
sight which they regarded as a sign from heaven. A bunch of 
cactus was growing upon a rock and upon the cactus an eagle 

•Torquemada, a provincial of the Franciscan Order, came to the New World about the 
middle of the sixteenth century. As the generation of the Conquerors had not then passed 
away he had ample opportunities forgathering the particulars of their enterprise frorn their own 
lips Fifty years, during which he continued in the country, put him in possession of the tradi- 
tions and usages of the natives, and enabled him to collect his history from the earliest mis- 
sionaries, as well as from such monuments as the fanaticism of his own countrymen had not de- 


was perched, and in the eagle's claw was a serpent, which was 
always an expressive sign to the natives. This sight led them 
to settle upon the shores of the lake, which was then a small 
inland sea, its salt waters having been the result of the geo- 
logical formation. The following description of the lake and 
the valley which contains it, will be interesting in this con- 

The Valley of Mexico is an immense basin of an approximately circu- 
lar shape, sixty miles in diameter, completely bounded by high mountains 
and having only two or three passes out of it. No water drains out of the 
basin. The surface of the valley has a mean altitude above the sea of 7,413 
feet, and an area of about 2,270 square miles. Mountain ranges arise on 
every side, making a great coral of rock, containing many villages and 
hamlets with the ancient capital as the centre. The valley, thus hemmed 
in with solid walls of rock, had been an inland sea for many cycles, and 
during the early existence of man the salt water spread over a large portion 
of the valley. The waters were gradually lessened by seepage and evapo- 
ration, and the Aztec immigrants, coming from the North in the fourteenth 
century, having received a sign that they were to build their city here, set- 
tled on its shores and began building dykes and combating the over-flow of 
the waters. Nearly fifty years before the discovery of America Nezahual- 
coyotl saw the necessity for a drainage canal, and commenced the work in 
1450; he constructed an immense dyke to divide the fresh water which 
came down from the mountains from the salt water of the lakes. The City 
of Mexico was at this time but a rambling Indian village built upon float- 
ing rafts on the water and numerous islets on the borders of the lakes, but 
so arranged that in the event of the water rising, the whole city would float. 

When Cortez arrived in Mexico in 1519, he found, to his great surprise, 
the defense of the city admirably arranged, and a most enchanting view 
of flowering islets formed the floating capital. Little towns and villages, 
half concealed by the foliage, looked, from a distance, like companies of 
wild swans riding quietly on the waves. A scene so new and wonderful 
filled the heart of the Spaniard with amazement. So astonished was he at 
extent of the water of Lake Tezcuco, that he describes it as a "sea that 
embraces the whole valley.* 

The history of Mexico began with the invasion of the 
Toltecs from an unknown region during the fifth century, or 
about the time of the Roman occupation of Great Britain, and 
actually kept pace with the progress of Europe during the cen- 
turies that followed. It reminds us forcibly of the history of 
the British Islands during the middle ages; or, as Prescott 
says, during the time of Alfred the Great. There were, to be 
sure, no signs of the presence of the art and architecture of 
the civilized world, and no such contact with Rome or with 
the historic nations of the East; but the evidence is furnished 
us from the monuments and ruins which have been discovered, 
that the Toltec civilization did not fall short of that which pre- 
vailed in the south of Europe at this time. This Toltec civili- 
zation continued until the end of the twelfth centur)-, when it was 
in turn forced to give way to that of the Aztec tribe, who swept 
down from the coast of California, Oregon, and other northern 
regions. It is generally agreed that the Aztecs formerly lived 
far to the north, and gradually worked their wa}- southward 
until they reached the flowering Anahuac, but it is not 

*See Romero's Geography of Mexico. 


known what their condition was when they arrived at their final 
destination, though the general opinion is that they were like 
other wandering and migrating tribes, and were little above the 
condition of savages. Still, the fact that they so soon con- 
formed to the civilization of the Toltecs who preceded them, 
and adopted their arts and architecture, renders it probable 
that their apparent savagery was only the result of their wan- 
dering life, and that they had the elements of growth withm 

IV. As to the architecture and its marvelous development, 
it will be remembered that the Aztecs were nomads dif- 
fering very little from other wandering tribes; and yet in the 
course of 'three centuries they came up to a state of civilization 
w hich seemed to the Spaniards absolutely marvelous; showing 
that there was as rapid advancement among some of the pre- 
historic races as among the historic. Mr. Matthews says: 

The general characteristics of the architecture are those which their 
predecessor?, the Toltecs, possessed, and the supposition is that their rapid 
progress was owing to the fact, that they borrowed the civilization of their 
predecessors. Their temples were built after the pattern of the Toltecs, 
and so were the survivals of the native art. Their palaces, so called, were 
low, one story buildings, without windows; but rested upon terraces, which 
raised them above the surface. Each was composed of a stone basement 
and surrounded by a species of facade, carved in imitation of reeds and 
decorated in high relief with scrolls, monsters, and masks, such as are used 
at present on prows of battleships among the Polynesian Islanders. The 
roofs, as near as can be ascertained, were ffat and the rooms were lighted 
from the doorways, which were, in some instances, widened by means of 
columns, which were ornaments as well as defences. The temples play a 
more important part than any other building. Forty thousand Teocalhs, or 
'• Houses of God," graced the ancient cities of Mexico, and many, though 
ruined, are still extant. Like the Chaldean temples they consisted, when 
whole, of huge platforms, piled one above another, which drew in as they 
ascended, and were crested with a shrine containing altars and images of 
gilded stone. ^ 

Two remarkable specimens still stand at Teotihuacan. near the City ot 
Mexico; they were called anciently the " Houses of the Sun and Moon.' 
Though much ruined and over-grown with vegetation, sufficient yet remains 
for intelligent restoration, and the fact that these temples are believed to 
belong to the Toltec civilization lends them an additional mterest. The 
" Temple of the Sun " rose originally to a height of 171 feet, having a base 
of 645 square feet. That of the Moon was of smaller proportion, both had 
their faces turned toward the four cardinal points of the compass, which 
argues a knowledge of astronomy among the builders, and both were fur- 
nished with walled approaches placed at right angles to their four sides' 
which, while dedicated to the stars, still served the useful purpose of tombs 
for the chiefs of the nation. 

lietter known than these is the Teocalli of Cholula. the most marvelous 
of Mexican monuments, as regards size, and dedicated to Quetzalcoatl; 
rising onlv a few feet higher than the House ot the Sun, yet it covers an 
area of twic-. the size of the pyramid of Cheops; according to some about 
twenty-six acres; according to others, sixty acres. Though so extensive in 
size, it cannot be compared architecturally with the great feat of masonry 
on the Nile, since even in its palmy days it could never have been much 
more than a huge mound of clay, and sun-dried brick, pierced with subter- 
ranean passages, and surmounted by a rude sanctuary without even the 
grace of good proportions.* 

• See '• The Story of Architecture " by C. T. Matthews, page 180. 


We may say that there were many other cities in Mexico, 
which are now in ruins, some upon the mountains, others in 
the valleys; but the majority of them have been ascribed to 
the Toltccs, and these illustrate the difference between the 
ancient and the more modern civilization. 

It appears that the Aztec cities were originally villages, 
not unlike ihe pci/cjjittes or lake villages, which were built upon 
piles over the water, and which belonged to the Stone Age. 

But these cities were placed on the summits of the moun- 
tains, and were constructed by a process of transforming the 
slope of the mountains into a series of pyramids and plat- 
forms, which were probably surmounted by palaces, or by 
temples and altars, their very sightliness making them impres- 
sive objects in the landscape. 

We are to notice the peculiar quadrangular arrangement of 
the apartments of the kings and the inclosures occupied by the 
priests, as well as the orientation of the pyramids, for there was 
a religious motive embodied in it; the worship of the sun re- 
quiring that the city be built after a certain pattern. This 
quadrangular arrangement has been spoken of by Mr. W. H. 
Holmes, who visited the ancient city of Monte Alban and traced 
out the plan after which it was built, in the arrangement of the 
great pyramidal mounds which covered the mountain sides and 
changed their summits into artificial shapes. 

The description by Mr. W. H. Holmes is especially worthy of 
attention, as his experience as an archaeologist would naturally 
lead him to be very cautious in his expressions. After speaking 
of his ascent of the mountain and cultivated terraces and the 
discovery of well-preserved quadrangular ruins arranged about 
a quadrangular court, he describes the scene which presented 

From the mainland, I ascended the central pyramid, which is the crown- 
ing feature of this part of the crest, and obtained a magnificent panorama 
of the monntain and the surrounding valleys and ranges. Turning to the 
north, the view along the crest was bewildering in the extreme. In years 
of travel and mountain work, I had met with many great surprises, such as 
that experienced on emerging suddenly from^he forest-covered plateaus of 
Arizona into a full view of the Grand Caiion of the Colorado, or of obtain- 
ing unexpected glimpses of startling Alpine panoramas— but nothing had 
ever impressed me so deeply as this. The crest of Alban, one-fourth of a 
mile wide, ana extending nearly a mile to the north, lay spread out at my 
feet. The surface was not covered with scattered and obscure piles of ruins 
as I had expected, but the whole mountain had been removed by the hand 
of man, until not a trace of natural contour remained. There was a vast 
system of level courts, enclosed by successive terraces and bordered by 
pyramids upon pyramids. Even the sides of the mountain descended in a 
succession of terraces, and the whole crest, separated by the hazy atmo- 
sphere from the dimly-seen valleys more than i,ooo feet below, and isolated 
completely from the blue range beyond, seemed suspended in mid air. All 
was pervaded by a spirit of mystery, solitude and utter desolation, not re- 
lieved by a sound of life or a single touch of local color. It seemed, indeed, 
a phantom city, and separated as it is by half a dozen centuries from the 
modern city — barely traceable as a fleck of white in the deep valley beyond 
the saddle of the Lesser Alban — furnishes a tempting held for speculation. 

I have endeavored to convey some notion of this remarkable scene in 
the panorama which is constructed from a sketch made from the summit of 


the central pyramid seen in the foreground of the view. The point of view 
assumed is indicated bv a cross in the profile view of the mountain, and 
also by a cross on the accompanying map. In the foreground is the great 
terrace, referred to above, crowned by its two pyramids, one placed at the 
southeast corner and the other, the main mound, situated a little to the left 
of the centre. 

Behind this group is the central feature of the ancient city, a vast court 
or plaza, a level, sunken field 600 feet wide and 1,000 feet long, inclosed by 
terraces and pyramids and having a hne of four pyramids ranged along its 
centre. * * "* The chain of pyramids extending from north to south 
along the middle of the great square constitutes one of the most mteresting 
features of the remains. They are well shown in the panorama and map. 
In viewing these works, one is tempted to indulge in speculation as to the 
conditions that must have prevailed during the period of occupation. How 
striking must have been the effects when these pyramids were all crowned 
with imposing temples, when the great level plaza about them, 600 by 1,000 
feet in extent, was brilliant with barbaric displays, and the inclosing ranges 
of terraces and pyramids were occupied by gathered throngs. Civilization 
has rarely conceived anything in the way of amphitheatric-display more 
extensive and imposing than this. 

This would show that the cities at the outset, were laid out 
after a definite plan, and did not owe their character or shape to 
accidental circumstances, or even to the character of the site 
on which they were based. The uniformity of the Mexican 
architecture is very instructive on this account, as it shows that 
it was borrowed from an older people, rather than introduced 
l)y a savage race. It, however, shows what style was common 
among the barbaric races of the earth, and brings before us that 
type which was common in Asia many thousands of years ago. 
The analogies are found in the cities of the East, such as 
Babylonia, Ninevah, Thebes, far more than in the villages of 
the hunter tribes of the North, and show that they were built 
after an entirely different system. In this respect the early 
historians are more correct than some of the modern archae- 
ologists; for they described the cities as they saw them, while 
the archffiologists depend upon only the ruined cities and a few 
relics and remains which are left, from vvhich they are able to 
trace the plans after which they were built. 

There was another advantage which the historians had over 
the archaeologists: they all describe the scenery in such a man- 
ner as to present a perfect picture which appeals to the imagi- 
nation and pleases the fancy; but the archaeologists are held by 
the technique of their science and feel bound to give the de- 
tails and measurements of each part in turn, rather than the 
artistic character of the whole scene. For this reason we pre- 
fer to quote the historians, and shall do so without stopping to 
criticise their stvle or correct their statements. 

It is due to the Spanish historians that a picture of barbaric 
magnificence has been preserved and that the middle stage of 
human progress has been portrayed. The descriptions of 
costumes, equipages, house-furnishings, military equipments, 
mode of warfare, as well as of social habits and customs, and 
all the details of domestic life are worthy of careful study on 
this account. The m,ost brilliant and gorgeous scenes riveted 
their attention, for they were as novel and strange to them as 


they would be to us. Many of the objects which they saw were 
so fragile that they were easily destroyed, and so passed out of 
sight. But, the featherwork and gorgeous head-dresses which 
were worn by the warriors were as true signs of the barbarism 
which prevailed as was the strange architecture which was em- 
bodied in their temples. As Prescott says: 

Architecture is, to a certain extent, a sensual gratification; it addresses 
Itself to the eye, and affords the best scope for the parade of barbaric pomp 
and splendor. It is the form in which the revenues of a semi-civilized peo- 
ple are most likely to be lavished. The most gaudy and ostentatious 
specimens of it, and sometimes the most stupendous, have been reared by 
such hands. It is one of the first steps in the great march of civilization.* 

The historians speak, to be sure, as if the warriors and chiefs 
belonged to an organized army, and of the tribes as if they were 
great nations, and of their caciqiics, or monarchs, as if they were 
the kings of a great empire. But this description was certainly 
as correct as that of the writers who have compared the peo- 
ple to the wild tribes of the North, and who have made the 
confederated cities of Mexico to resemble the Iroquois con- 
federacy which formerly existed in the State of New York. 
The tribes which were situated in the valley of Mexico may 
have been at one time nothing more than savages, and their 
condition may have been no better or higher than that of the 
Iroquois, when they were visited by Champlain. But the vision 
which greeted the eyes of Cortez, as he looked down upon the 
valley of Mexico, was very different from that which met the 
eyes of Champlain when he attacked the little band of Iroquois 
on the shores of the lake which bears his name. 

The villages, or so-called castles of the Iroquois were situa- 
ted upon the different lakes which are scattered throughout the 
state of New York, with the chief village, where the " Long 
House " was situated, in the very centre of the confederacy. It 
was owing to the fact that they were so secure in their strong- 
holds, and were so strong in their confederated capacity, that 
they became a terror to all the tribes. It did not take more 
than three or four centuries for either confederacy to come up 
to the summit of its power, but the great advance during 
the previous history of Mexico under the Toltecs had given to 
the Aztecs a civilization which was very unlike that of the 
Iroquois. And so the scene which greeted the eyes of Cortez, 
the Spaniard, was very different from that which engaged the 
attention of Champlain, the Frenchman. As Prescott says: 

Cortez, at the very time of his landing, recognized the vestiges of a 
higher civilization than he had before witnessed in the Indian islands. The 
houses were some of them large, and often built with stone and lime. He 
was particularly struck with the temples, in which were towers constructed 
of the same solid materials, and rismg several stories in height. In the 
court of one of these, he was amazed by the sight of a cross, of stone and 
lime, about ten palms high. It was the emblem of the god of rain. Its ap- 
pearance suggested the wildest conjecture, not merely to the unlettered 
soldiers, but subsetjuently to the European scholars, who speculated on the 
character of the races that had introduced there the symbol ot Chri^tianity. 

See Prescott's "Conquest of Mexico," Vol. I-, p. 134- 


The Mexicans had many claims to the character of a civil- 
ized community, but the detestable feature of the Aztec super- 
stition was its cannibalism; though, in truth, the Mexicans were 
not cannibals in the coarsest acceptation of the word. They 
did not feed on human flesh merely to satisfy a brutish appetite, 
but in obedience to their religion. Their repasts were made of 
the victims whose blood had been poured out on the altar of 
sacrifice. Human sacrifice had been practiced by many nations, 
but never by any on a scale to be compared with that in 
Anahuac. Scarcely any author pretends to estimate the yearly 
sacrifices throughout the empire at less than 20,C00. Indeed, 
the great object of the war with the Aztecs was quite as much 
to gather victims for their sacrifices, as to extend their empire. 
It was customary to preserve the skulls of the victims of sacri- 
fices in buildings appropriated to the purpose. The companions 
of Cortez counted 136,000 in one of these edifices. Human 
sacrifices were adopted by the Aztecs early in the fourteenth 
century, about 200 years before the Conquest, but it was this 
that led to their ruin in the end. 

V. With this general description of the characteristics of 
the ancient cities of Mexico, we now turn to give an account 
of the location of particular cities through which the 
Spanish conquerors passed, and which they have described 
so graphically. Various writers have drawn from the 
Spanish records, and have given us excellent accounts of 
the Conquest gis well as the character of the cities. Our 
knowledge of the architecture which prevailed is secured 
from them, but has been confirmed by later explorations of 
the archaeologists.* 

Tlascala was one of the most important and populous 
towns on the tableland. Cortez, in his letter to the Em- 
peror, compares it to Grenada, affirming, that it was larger, 
stronger, and more populous than the Moorish capital, at the 
time of the Conquest, and quite as well built. The truth is 
that Cortez, like Columbus, saw objects through the medium 
of his own imagination. The Tlascalans, who had been 
driven to the mountains and there hidden themselves behind 
the great wall which they had built between the mountains, 
making an artificial barrier to supplement that which was 
natural, were ready to join with Cortez in his attack upon 
the cities which Avere situated in the valley. The following 
description, given by Prescott, is taken from one of the old 
Spanish historians and furnishes a picture of the people: 

The crowds flocked out to see and welcome the strangers,— men and 
women in their picturesque dres-s, with bunches and wreaths of ro^es, which 
they gave to the Spaniards, or fastened to the necks or caparisons of their 
horses, in the same manner as at Cempoalla. Priests, with their white 
robes, and long matted tresses floating over them, mingled in the crowd. 

*The chief modern aiuhorities are Prescott and H H. Bancroft, though the explorations of 
Charnay, of Bandelier, and of W. H Holmes have thrown much light on the ruined cities. 
These confirm the accounts of the early Spanish historians. 


scattering volumes of incense from their burning censers. The houses were 
hung with festoons of flowers, and arches of verdant boughs, intertwined 
with roses and honeysuckle, were thrown across the streets. 

The garments of the common people were manv colored, and the mul- 
titude were arrayed in beautiful feathers. The warriors who came forth to 
defend the cities, were also armed with weapons which were of superior 
character, and their chiefs were covered with plumes and head-dresses very 
imposing to the sight. Each nation had its own particular standard on 
which were painted or embroirdered the armorial bearings of the State. 
That of the Mexican empire, as we have seen, bore an eagle in the act of 
seizing a tiger or jaguar. Tfiat of the republic of Tiascala, a bird with its 
wings spread as in the act of Hying, which some authors call an eagle; 
others, a bird or crane Each of ttie four lordships of the republic had, 
also, its appropriate ensign: Tizatlan had a crane upon a rock; Tepeticpac, 
a wolf with a bunch of arrows in his paws; Ocoteluico, a green bird upon a 
rock, and Quiahuiztlan, a parasol made of green feathers. Each company 
or command had also a distinct standard, the colors of which corresponded 
to the armor and plumes of the chief . The great standard of the Flascaltec 
army was carried by the general commanding, and the smaller banners of 
the companies, by their respective captains; they were carried on the back, 
and were so firmly tied that they could not be detached without great 

The architecture of thi.s cit}^ does not seem to have 
equaled that of the cities in the valley, such as Cholula, Tez- 
cuco. and Tenochtitlan or Mexico. Still, it was of a char- 
acter to surprise the Spanish conquerors. The division of 
the city into four quarters resembled that which prevailed 
in all of the Aztec cities. The following" is a quotation from 
Prescott, which will show the deg"ree of civilization reached: 

The houses were built for the most part of mud or earth; the better 
sort of stone and lime, or bricks dried in the sun. They were unprovided 
with doors or windows, but in the apertures for the former hung mats, 
fringed with pieces of copper or something which, by its tinkling sound, 
would give notice of any one's entrance. They peculiarly excelled in pot- 
tery, which was considered as equal to the best in Europe. It is a further 
proof of civilized habits that the Spaniards found barber's shops and baths, 
tjoth of vapor and hot water, familiarly used by the inhabitants. A still 
higher proof of refinement may be discovered in a vigilant police, which 
repressed everything like disorder among the people. The city was divided 
into four quarters, which might rather be called so many separated towns, 
since they were built at different times and separated from each other by 
high stone walls, defining their respective limits. Over each of these dis- 
tricts ruled one of the four great chiefs of the republic, occupying his own 
spacious mansion and surrounded by his own immediate vassals.t 

The next city which Cortez visited, was the ancient city 
Cholula, capital of the Republic of that name. Itla^' nearly 
six leag-ues south of Tiascala and about twent}^ southeast 
of the City of Mexico. It was said by Cortez to contain 
20,000 houses within the walls, and as many more in the 
environs. It was of great antiquity, and was founded by 
the primitive races who overspread the land before the 
Aztecs, and carried back the foundation of the city to the 
Olmecas, the people who preceded the Toltecs. It had been 
reduced to vassalage b}' the Aztecs, and its people were 
in frequent collision with the Tlascalans. 

•See Prescott's "Conquest of Mexico " 

t See Bancroft'.s " Native Races of the Pacific States." 

»> r .-» 

The inhabitants excelled in various mechanical arts, 
especially that of working- of metals, the manufacture of 
cotton and agave clothes, and of a delicate kind of pottery, 
rivalling-, Herrera says, that of Florence in beauty. The 
capital, so conspicuous for its refinement, was more vener- 
able for its relig-ious traditions. It was here that the God 
Quetzalcoatl dwelt and taught the Toltec inhabitants the 
arts of civilization. It was in honor of this benevolent 
deity that the stupendous mound was erected, on which the 
traveler still g^azes with admiration, as the most colossal 
fabric in New Spain. The date of the erection is unknown, 
for it was there when the Aztecs entered on the Plateau. 
It had the form common to the Mexican teocallis — that of 
a truncated jDyramid, facing- with its four sides the cardinal 
points, and divided into four terraces. The perpendicular 
height of the pyramid is 177 feet. Its base is 1,41^3 feet long, 
twice as long as the great pyramid of Cheops. It may give 
some idea of its dimensions to state that its base, which is 
square, covers about -14 acres, and the platform on its trun- 
cated summit embraces more than one. It reminds us of the 
colossal monuments of brick- work, which are still seen in 
ruins on the banks of the Euphrates, and, in much better 
preservation, on those of the Nile. 

The following description is from Bancroft's "Native 
Races,"" Vol. iv., p. 484: 

From a base of about 1,440 feet square, whose sides face the cardinal 
points, it rose in four equal stories to a height of nearly 200 feet. Traces 
of artificial terraces are noted on the slopes, and excavations have proven 
that the whole amount, or a very large portion of it, is of artificial construc- 
tion. The material of which the mound is constructed is adobes, or sun- 
dried bricks, generally about fifteen inches long, laid regularly with alter- 
nate layers of clay. Col. Brantz Mayer says the adobes are interspersed 
with small fragments of porphyry and limestone, but the historian Veytia 
ascertained the material to be small stones and a kind of brick of clay and 
straw in alternate layers. * * * Bernal Diaz at the time of the conquest 
counted 120 steps in the stairway, which led up the steep to the temple, but 
no traces of the stairway have been visible in modern times. Hum- 
boldt shows that it is larger at the base than any ot the Old World 
pyramids, over twice as large as that of Cheops, and a little higher than 
that of Mycerinus. He says: "The construction of the teocalli recalls the old- 
est monuments to which the civilization of our race reaches. The historical 
annals of aboriginal times, confirmed by the Spanish records of the Con- 
quest, leave no doubt that the chief object of the pvramid was to support 
a temple." Latrobe says: " Many ruined mounds may be seen from the 
summit, in fact the whole surface of the surrounding plain is broken 
by both natural and artificial elevations." 

There is no doubt that this terraced mound was a pyra- 
mid on whose summit was the ancient teocalli in which the 
Toltec priests formerly worshipped. It was probably the 
centre of the so-called city which Cortez entered and by 
stratagem conquered, though with great slaughter of the 
natives, and with considerable loss to his own troops. It 
was originalh' the shrine at which the nations or tribes, 
who dwelt in the Valley of Mexico, gathered for sacrifice, 


and resembled the temple at Palenque, which was also a 
sacred place of the Maya race. 

Torquemada sa5^s they came the distance of 200 leagues, 
and Sahagun. who saw the Aztec g'ods before the Christians 
had tumbled them from their pride of place, has given a 
minute account of the costume and insignia worn. He says: 

On the summit stood a sumptuous temple in which was the image of 
the mystic deity, god of the air, with ebon features, wearing a mitre on his 
head waving with plumes of fire, a resplendent collar of gold about his 
neck, pendants of mosaic turquoise in his ears, a jewelled sceptre in one 
hand, and a shield curiously painted, the emblem of his rule over the winds, 
in the other. The sanctity of the place, hallowed by hoary traditions and 
the magnificence of the temple and its services, made it an object of ven- 
eration, and pilgrims from the furthest corners of Anahuac came to offer 
up their devotions at the shrine of Quetzalcoatl. In no city was there such 
a concourse of priests, so many processions and so much pomp of cere- 
monial sacrifice. Cholula was, in short, what Mecca is among the Moham- 
medans, or what Jerusalem is among the Christians. It was the " Holy 
City " of Anahuac. The Aztec gods were worshipped and 6,000 victims were 
annually offered up at their sanguinary shrines. 

Nothing could be more grand than the view which met the eye from 
the area on the truncated summit of the pyramid. Toward the west 
stretched that bold barrier of porphyritic rock which nature has reared 
around the valley of Mexico, with the huge Popocatapetl and Iztaccihuatl 
standing like two colossal sentinels to guard the entrance to the enchanted 
region. Far away to the east was seen the conical head of Orizaba, soar- 
ing high into the clouds, and nearer, the barren, though beautifully shaped 
Sierra de Malinche throwing its broad shadow over the plains of Tlascala. 

At the elevation of more than 6,000 feet above the sea are the rich 
products of various climes, growing side by side, fields of maize, the juicy 
aloe, the chilli, Aztec pepper, plantations of the cactus; the land irrigated 
by numerous streams and canals, and well shaded by woods that have dis- 
appeared before the rude axe of the Spaniards. The Spaniards were filled 
with admiration at the aspect of the Cholulans; thev were particularly struck 
with the costume of the higher classes, who wore fine embroidered mantles, 
resembling the graceful Moorish cloak, in texture and fashion. They 
showed the same delicate taste for flowers as the other tribes of the Plateau, 
decorating their persons with them, and tossing garlands and bunches 
among the soldiers. Immense numbers of priests mingled with the 
crowd, swinging their aromatic censers, while music from various kinds of 
instruments gave a lively welcome to the visitors. The Spaniards were 
also struck with the cleanliness of the city, the width and great regularity 
ot the streets, which seemed to have been laid out on a settled plan; with 
the solidity of the houses, and the number and size of the pyramidal 
temples. At night, the stillness of the hour was undisturbed, except bv the 
occasional sounds heard in a populous city, and by the hoarse cries of the 
priests, from the turrets of the Uoca//ts , procWirnxng through their trumpets 
the watches of the night. 

The city of Mexico, called in the native language 
Tenochtitlan, was the largest and the most powerful of all 
the Aztec cities. It occupied, as we have said, an island 
near the centre of the lake, which was reached bj' three 
artificial dykes, one of which connected it with Tlacopan. 
capital of an allied tribe; a second with the cit}" of Tezcuco. 
and a third with Xochimilco. These various cities were 
destroyed b}' the Spaniards, scarceh" a fragment of them 
remains. The following description, gathered by Prescott 
from the early historians, is worthy of our notice: 


They also saw as they passed along several towns resting on piles and 
reaching afar into the water, a kind of architecture which found great favor 
with the Aztecs. The water was darkened by swarms of canoes filled with 
Indians. The army kept along the narrow tongue of land, which divides 
the Tezcucan from the Chalcan waters, and entered on the great dyke which 
connected the island city with the mainland. It was the same causeway 
which forms the southern avenue of Mexico. The Spaniards had occasion 
more than ever to admire the mechanical science of the Aztecs, in the pre- 
cision with which the work was executed, as well as the solidity of its con- 
struction. It was composed of huge stones, well laid in cement, and wide 
enough throughout its final extent for ten horsemen to ride abreast. At a 
distance of half a league from the capital, they encountered a solid work, 
or curtain, of stone, which traversed the dyke. It was twelve feet high, and 
was strengthened by towers at the extremities, and in the centre was a bat- 
tlemented gateway, which opened a passage to the troops. After this the 
army reached a drawbridge near the gates of the city. It was built of wood, 
thrown across an opening in the dyke which furnished an outlet to the 
waters, when swollen by a sudden influx. 


The architecture of the city of Mexico is interesting from 
the fact that it shows how a village, which resembles the lake 
villages of Switzerland in being placed over the water and built 
upon piles, grew up to be a great city, with streets, houses, 
palaces, temples and market-places, and yet continued to be 
reached by canoes. The growth was rapid, and no specimens 
of the early stages have been preserved. This growth was due 
to contact with a Toltec civilization, which had preceded the 
arrival of the Aztecs, as well as to the resources which the val- 
ley afforded, but mainly to the occupations of the people. 
Mr. Prescott says: 

Agriculture was the chief employment, and this resulted in the rapid 
development of commerce and art. There was scarcely a spot so rude, or 
a steep so inaccessible as not to possess the power of cultivation. * * * 
From the resources thus enlarged by conquest and domestic industry, the 
monarch drew the means for the large consumption of his own numerous 


household, and for the costly works which he executed for the convenience 
and embellishment of the capital. He filled it with stately edifices for his 
nobles, whose constant attendance he was anxious to secure at his court. 
He erected a magnificent pile of buildings, which might serve both for a 
royal residence and for the public offices. It extended from east to west 
1,234 yards, and from north to south 978 yards. It was encompassed by a 
wall of unburnt bricks and cement, six feet wide and nine feet high, for one- 
half of the circumference, and fifteen feet high for the other half. Within 
this enclosure were two courts. The outer one was used as the great mar- 
ket-place of the city; and continued to be so until long after the Conquest, 
if, indeed, it is not now. The interior court was surrounded by the council- 
chambers and halls of justice. There were also accommodations there tor 
the foreign ambassadors; and a spacious saloon, with apartments opening 
into it, for men of science and poets, who pursued their studies in this 
retreat, or met together to hold converse under its marble porticos. In this 
quarter, also, were kept the public archives, which fared better under the 
Indian dynasty, than they have since under their European successors. 
Adjoining this court were the apartments of the king, including those for 
the royal harem, as liberally supplied with beauties as that of an Eastern 
sultan. Their walls were encrusted with alabasters and richly tinted 
stiiccos, or hung with gorgeous tapestries of variegated feather-work. They 
led through long arcades, and through labyrinths of shrubbery, into gardens 
where baths and sparkling fountains were overshadowed by tall groves of 
cedar and cypress. 

This palace, so graphically described, was a pile of low, 
irregular buildings, flanked upon one side by the wall of ser- 
pents, coatlpantli, which encompassed the great tcocalli, with its 
little city of holy edifices. It may have embraced the apart- 
ments which were necessary for the accommodation of the 
great household of the Aztec monarch; all of them arranged 
in a quadrangular shape, but built in an unsubstantial way and 
of perishable material. 

It will be remembered that this city, with all its grandeur, 
was swept out by the Spaniards in the process of a three 
months' siege. The point of attack selected by the Spanish 
general was Xochimilco, or the "field of flowers," as the name 
implies from the floating gardens which rode at anchor, as it 
were, on the neighboring waters. Prescott says: 

It was one of the most potent and wealthy cities in the valley, and a 
staunch vassal of the Aztec crown. It stood, like the capital itself, partly 
in the water, and was approached in that quarter by causeways of no great 
length. The town was composed of houses like those of most other places 
of like magnitude in the country— mostly of cottages and huts made of 
clay and the light bamboo, mingled with aspiring teocallis and edifices of 
stone, belonging to the more opulent classes. 



The term Toltec has been regarded as a synonym of all that 
was refined and cultivated among the prehistoric races of Mexico 
and Central America, and is generally suggestive of a high 
state of civilization. This use of the v^^ord has, however, been 
objected to by many writers as giving an exaggerated idea of 
the progress of the people. Some have gone so far as to deny 
that there ever was a separate tribe. Dr. Brinton maintained 
that the name Toltec was a title of distinction, rather than a 
national or tribal name, and was never applied to the common 
people. Mr. L. H. Morgan and Mr. A. F. Bandelicr maintain 
that there was no such state of civilization as is suggested by 
the name, either in this region or anywhere on the continent. 
What appears to be such, was only a varied form of barbarism; 
the so-called cities, which the Spaniards saw and the historians 
described, were little more than tribal villages; the kings were 
little else than tribal chiefs. The priests, who officiated at the 
ceremonies in the temples and who sacrificed human victims 
upon the summit of the pyramids, were not essentially differ- 
ent from the " medicine men" of the aborigines. Everything 
described by the Spanish historians as so superior, owes its 
magnificence to the imagination of the writers, or to their pur- 
pose to produce an effect upon the minds of the Europeans. 
There is very little that was real or truthful in these descrip- 

According to this school much that was written by the 
Spanish historians is to be rejected, and even the works of the 
American historians, such as Mr. W. H. Prescott, Mr. H. H. 
Bancroft, and others, were too much influenced by the exag- 
gerations of the Spanish writers, and are too imaginative and 
visionary to be accepted. 

The pendulum, however, has begun to swing in the other 
direction. The destructive criticism has given place to the 
constructive, and all are now willing to accept the statements 
which are made, making allowance for the circumstances and 
the times. The exaggerations of the Spanish historians have 
feeen trimmed off, the solid facts have come forth, and it is now 
admitted that after all, there was in Mexico and the Central 
provinces of South America, as well as in the United States 
•f Colombia and among the mountains of Peru, evidence 
of civilization, which may well be compared to those which 
existed in many parts of the old world, at the beginnings of 
history, especially in India, Mesopotamia, the valley of the 
Nile, and perhaps in China. 

There was, however, this difference between the cities of 
America and those of the East; these were originally the abodes 
of clans and tribes, but some of them were becoming subordi- 
nate to others, and so were divided into two classes — the ruling 
and the serving; while the cities known to history, were the 
seats of an empire and abodes of a despot. On this point 
Mr. E. J. Payne, the author of the " History of the New World 
Called America," says : 

The pueblo, in its simple form, possesses no historical importance. 
History in the ordmary sense, only begiias when the pueblo has become the 
unit of a compound society, consisting of several such united units aggre- 
gated into a group, held in subjection by some larger and stronger one; 
one of a class, which may be called "' dominant " or "'sovereign" pueblos. 

In denominating the pueblos by which others were held m subjection, 
"dominant" or ''sovereign" pueblos, the name given to them by the 
Mexicans (Tlatocaaltepetl) is exactly reproduced. 

Here, alone among the advanced tracts of the New World, we find 
chiefs belonging to the conquering tribes established as resident proprietors 
in the conqueied pueblos. Ihe Spaniards rightly compared these pro- 
prietary estates, which seem usually to have comprised the greater part 
of the village lands, to the seigneuries of Europe. The remarkable anal- 
ogy to a familiar element in the advancement of the Old World is wholly 
wanting in Peru.* 

This is virtually the position which Dr. E. B. Tylor takes, 
in his admirable work, "Anahuac; or, Mexico and the Mexi- 
cans, Ancient and Modern." He says that "the highest grade 
reached anywhere was barbarism without iron or the alphabet, 
but in some respects simulating civilization."' 

Miss Susan Hale, who has written a book upon Mexico, 
enters a gentle protest agamst the severe tendency of the 
critics, and laments that they, "with the fatal penetration of 
our time, destroy the splendid vision which was drawn by the 
Spaniards, and which resembled the glories of an oriental tale; 
reducing the emperor to a chieftan, the glittering retinue to a 
horde of savages, the magnificent palace to a pueblo of adobe. 
The discouraged enthusiast sees his magnificent civilization, 
devoted to art, literature, and luxury, reduced to a few hand- 
fuls of pitiful Indians quarrelling among themselves for 
supremacy; and sighs to think his sympathies may have been 
wasted on an Aztec sovereign, dethroned by the invading 

Later explorers, M. Desire Charnay, Mr. and Mrs. Maudsley, 
Mr. W. H. Holmes and M. H. Saville, do not follow the 
Spanish historians, but by their descriptions they show that 
the cities were far more magnificent than any ordinary Indian 
pueblo could be, and contained many fine specimens of art and 
architecture. The cities, in fact, show a grade of civilization 
which was quite equal to that which prevailed in the East at the 
opening of history. They are scattered over a wide region of 
country, some of them in Mexico, some in Guatemala, Nica- 
ragua, and Honduras; those in Mexico having been erected 

*" History of .\merica," Vol. II., page 51 


at different periods and by different tribes of the great Nahua 

These cities are to form the subject of the present chapter, 
especially those which have been ascribed to the Toltecs, for 
we maintain that there was a great difference between the 
Toltec cities and those which preceded and followed; and they 
may be taken as certainly furnishing the best specimens of art 
and architecture to be found in Prehistoric America. There 
may be some who will deny this, and who will refer to the 
Maya architecture as superior; but there was so much differ- 
ence between the two styles that they cannot very well be com- 
pared. The superiority of the Toltec architecture, in some 
particulars, can be easily shown, while that of the Mayas in 
"others will be readily granted. 

The Toltecs built many high pyramids, arranged in quad- 
rangles, for foundations of their temples and palaces, but the 
buildings were of perishable material and have disappeared. 
The Mayas built terraced platforms which were broad and 
spacious, and erected their palaces and temples upon these, but 
always used stone as the building material. They frequently 
ornamented the fac^ades with elaborate figures carved upon the 
stone. These figures consisted sometimes of massive serpents 
and sometimes of conventional ornaments. 

Matthew's says in his book on Architecture : 

Palaces and temples are the main survivals of native art. The 
palaces, as a rule, were low, one-story buildings, without windows, rising 
above one or more terraces. Each was composed ot a stone basement, sur- 
mounted bv a species of attic, carved in imitation of reeds and decorated 
in hijjh relief with scrolls, monsters, and masks, such as are used on the 
prows of battleships among the Polynesian Islanders. The roofs were flat 
and the rooms were lighted onlv from the doors. 

The point wh'ch we desire to bring out, is that there was a 
Toltec architecture which was as distinctive as was ever the 
Etruscan, the Mycen;tan, the Persian, or the Babylonian; and 
the term may be ascribed to it. without deciding whether there 
was any particular tribe or people called by that name. The 
significance of the name is, that it expresses that stage of 
civilization which was reached at an early date in America, and 
which may well be compared to that which prevailed in the 
countries of the P^ast many thousands of years before. 

1. The first point which we shall bring up is that there 
were, in Mexico, certain tribes which were of a superior char- 
acter and which showed a fair degree of civilization. The 
origin of these tribes, as such, has not been discovered, but 
Mr. Bancroft has given a valuable history of them, of which 
the following is a brief summary : 

The history of the native races may be most conveniently subdivided, 
as follows: ist. The Pre-Toltec period, embracing the semi-mythic tradi- 
tions of the earliest civilization, extending down to a date — always pre- 
ceding the sixth century, but varying in different parts of the territory - 
when the more properly historic annals of the different nations begin, and 









r- u 






iacluding also the few traditions referring to pre-Toltec nations north of 
Tehuantepec. 2nd. Tlie Toltec Period, referring like the two following 
periods to Anahuac alone, and extending down to the eleventh century. 
3rd. The Chichimec Period, extending from the eleventh century to the 
tormation of the tri-partite alliance between the Aztecs, Acolhuans, and 
Tepanecs in the fifteenth century. 4th. The Aztec Period, that of Aztec 

supremacy during the century preceding the Conquest. 

* 4: * * * * * 

I'he old-time story, how tlie Toltecs in the sixth century appeared on 
the Mexican tableland; how they were driven out and scattered in the 
eleventh century; how after a brief interval the Chichimecs followed their 
footsteps, and how these last were succeeded by the Aztecs, who were found 
ia possession, — the last two. and probably the first, migrating in immense 
hordes from the far Northwest, all this is sufficiently familiar to readers 
af Mexican history. 

****** * 

Tradition imputes to the Toltecs a higher civilization than that found 
among the Aztecs, who had degenerated with the growth of the warlike 
spirit, and especially by the introduction of more cruel and sanguinary 
religious rites. But this superiority, in some respects not improbable, rests 
i»n no very strong evidence, since this people left no relics of that artistic 
skill which gave them so great traditional fame; there is, however, much 
reason to ascribe the construction of the pyramids at Teotihuacan and 
Cholula to the Toltec, or a still earlier period. Among the civilized peoples 
of the sixteenth century, however, and among their descendants down to 
the present day, nearly every ancient relic of architecture or sculpture is 
accredited to the Toltecs, from whom all claim descent, 

During the most flourishing period of its traditional five centuries of 
duration, the Toltec empire was ruled by a confederacy similar in some 
respects to the alliance of the later date between Mexico, Tezcuco. and 
Tlacopan. The capitals were Culliuacan, Otomoan, and Tulan, the two 
former corresponding somewhat in territory with Mexico and Tezcuco, 
while the latter was just beyond the limits of the valley toward the north- 
west. Each of these capital cities became in turn the leading power in the 
confederacy. Tulan* reached the highest eminence in culture, splendor, 
and fame; and Culhuacan was the only one of the three to survive by name 
the bloody convulsions by which the empire was at last overthrown, and 

retain anything of her former greatness. 


Before tiie Chichimec invasion, Cholula had already acquired great 
prominence as a Toltec city, and as the residence of the great Nahua 
apostle Quetzalcoatl, of wliicli era. or a preceding one, the famous pyra- 
mid remains as a memento. 

The coast region east of Tlascala, comprising the northern half of ihe 
State of Vera Cruz, was the home of 'he Totonacs, whose capital was the 
famous Cempoala, and who were conquered by the Aztecs at the close of 
the fifteenth century. They were probably one of the ancient pre-Toltec 
Iieoples, like the Otomis and Olmecs, and they claimed to have occupied in 
former times Anahuac and the adjoining territory, where they erected the 
pyramids of the sun and moon at Teotiiiuacan. Their institutions, when 
first observed by Europeans, seem to have been essentially Nahua, and the 
abundant architectural remains found in Totonac territory, as at Papantia, 
Misantla. and Tusapan, show no well-defined differences from Aztec con- 
structions proper. + 

We learn from these descriptions that there were many 
Toltec cities scattered through the provinces of Mexico, the 
most of which are now in ruins; but from the ruins, the char- 
acteristics of the Toltec architecture can be discovered. 

•The ruins ot Tulan were discovered by Monsieur Desire Charnay, and are described in 
his interesting book on " The Ancient Cities of the New World," pages 103 to It2, 

t Bancroft's " History," Vol. II., pugcs 113 and 114. 


These ruins have been examined by various explorers 
and have proved to contain many elements of architecture 
which resembled those found in the ancient cities of the Mayas 
of Central America. 

A description of these cities has been given by the differ- 
ent archaeologists, whose names have been mentioned above, 
and photographs, panoramas, and diagrams have been taken 
of them; so that we may now easily compare their arrange- 
ments, their architectural features, and their various pecu- 
liarities with those which prevailed in other countries of the 
East, as well as those in Central America. 

II. Among the elements which constitute the chief factors 
in these cities, we may mention, first, their division into parts 
resembling wards, each part having a central temple; all the 
parts arranged around the palace and the temple, which were 
the seats of authority for the ruling classes, who corresponded 
to the kings and priests in Oriental countries. In some of the 
cities, orientation was manifest, the sides of the temples be- 
ing directed to the points of the compass. The stairways 
which reached the temples faced the four quarters of the city. 
The arrangement of these cities around the palaces and 
temples, shows that society had passed out from the village life 
and the clan-organization, into a stage in which a certain class 
had usurped a power over the other classes, and had elevated 
the central village into supremacy over other villages; making 
the whole agricultural country surrounding tributary to the cit}-, 
and subject to the control of the chiefs, who had assumed the 
position of a king, the power of the monarch being supple- 
mented b)' the priests. 

This arrangement of the cities in America resembles that 
which was common in the Oriental countries, and differed 
entirely from that which prevailed in the villages of the north. 
The following are the particulars in which the resemblance is 
very close : 

We find in Babylonia that there was, at a very early date, a 
geographical division, which arose partly from their religious 
system and partly from their social organization. Rev. O. D. 
Miller says : 

In the system of symbolical pjeograpliy which centered in Akkad, the 
capital of the country ruled by tlie ancient Sargon, we find a peculiar 
arrangement, properly illustrated by the figure, the inclosed 
square facinj> the cardinal points — denotes the position of the 
city as situated precisely in the centre of the world, and sur- 
rounded by four other countries, located in the direction of the 1 
four cardinal regions. Dr. Bahr calls tliis the ancient "cos- 
mos" or "macrocosm." The number 5 in the centre of the 
square symbolized the "soul of the world," while the other numbers de- 
noted the various elements — four male and four females. 

M. Lenormant says : 

To find the origin, it is necessary to go back to the common source of 
primitive tradition respecting the terrestrial Paradise considered as a 
plateau of a square figure, having its sides turned to the four cardmal 











points and surrounded by tlie four other countries facing the cardinal 

Dr. Bahr says : 

It is a conception common to all the ancient nations, and inseparable 
from their notion of God — to represent the world as a building or house to 
the Deity, and the Heaven as his especial dwelling. Tlie Universe is the 
real, true Temple, built by the Deity himself, and this, as the original 
Temple, constiiuted a model the archetype of all those constructed by man. 

The Chinese have a similar arrangement of the division of 
their cities, as they place the throne of the Emperor at the 
centre, and the temples at the corners. 

The division of China into nine provinces and the symbolical 
conceptions connected with them, date from a high 
antiquity, and really comes from orientation. It 
springs very naturally from the doubling of four 
and making the throne the centre of the diagram, 
with eight squares.* 
The "Celestial Earth" and the "Crown of Heaven," which 
are terms common among the Chinese, are exactly the same as 
the old Accadian expressions which were used in Babylonia. 
The primitive character of the pyramid temple is seen in that 
it was called the foundation of the "Celestial Earth," but repre- 
sented the "Sacred Mountain," which was supposed to unite 
the Heaven and Earth like a vast column or pyramid; this 
mountain, rising in immense terraces until its summit reached 
the Heaven, was supposed to be the pivot of the skies. 

In Mexico, the ancient cities were oriented in the same way, 
but they seem to have controlled a limited territory, rather 
than an entire empire. There was, however, this peculiarity 
about them, they ruled over the surrounding region, and made 
it tributar}- to the city and subject to the control of the king 
and priests. 

It has been shown, by Miss Nutall, that the priests directed 
the employments of the agricultural people according to the 
calendar, which they studied and interpreted as containing the 
commands of the chief divinities, who were only the nature 
powers personified. B\' this means all agricultural employ- 
ments and all trade, as well as all social customs and c omestic 
affairs, were regulated by the calendar. This, of itself, makes 
the architecture of the ancient cities very significant, for the 
temple in which the calendar stone was kept was the seat of as 
much power as the palace itself. f 

There are strong indications proving that the different 
branches of industry or pursuit are identified with certain da}' 
signs. There was a division of products into four categories, 
according to the elements with which each industry or pursuit 
was connected; that on the market days of Catl, the god of 
water, aquatic or vegetable products; on Tecpatl (flint) days. 

S^ - - 

•See Thb American Antiquarian, Vol. III., page 113. 

tSee "Native American Symbolism," page 428; chapter on "Ancient Codices and Calendar 


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mineral products; on Calli (house) day, all manufactured 
articles; on Tochtli (tiger), all products of animal life should 
predominate in the market place. 

It is maintained that there were gardens filled with trees 
and plants, and menageries for all kinds of wild animals, with 
cages for birds, in Mexico, and that the king was attended with 
a great retinue of servants, that his garments were highly 
wrought and were new each day. Gold and silver were abund- 

There are no actual proofs that these things existed m 
the Toltec cities, yet. judging from such specimens of art as 
have been discovered and from the size and character of the 
ruins of the cities, we conclude that all of these evidences of 
civilization prevailed among the Toltecs. 

The ruins of acqueducts have been discovered near the 
City of Mexico. Acqueducts have been also recognized near 
the cities of Peru. No such works have been discovered in 
connection with the Toltec cities, yet it seems probable that 
they prevailed. 

The division of labor and the differentiation of architecture 
are factors which can be recognized in the history of the Toltecs. 
It is plain that the people had passed from the pastoral into the 
agricultural state, and that the villages had grown into cities, 
and that there were artisans as well as rulers in the cities. 

Ihering says: "No nation devoted to agriculture, but ulti- 
mately builds up towns which accomplish much in the way of 
promoting culture. The agriculturalist of remote ages, pro- 
vided all his own necessaries, but the course of man's industry 
gave rise to certain handicrafts which required special skill." 

The arrow-maker was the first artisan, then the pottery 
maker, then the basket-maker and the weaver of cloth. 
Afterwards there would be the silversmith, the stone-mason, 
and the carpenter: finally, the architect. These would natur- 
ally gather into the towns and cities. We learn from history 
that paper was manufactured and that many finely wrought 
articles of gold, silver, and copper, were common in Mexico at 
the time of the Conquest. There is no doubt that all of these 
industries were carried on by the Toltecs. 

This fact throws much light upon the ancient customs of 
the Toltecs, and makes the resemblance between the ancient 
cities of America and those of Babylonia all the more striking. 
We are to notice however, in connection with these cities, 
that there were roadways, which extended from their centre in 
different directions to the agricultural country surrounding, 
and these became important thoroughfares, but ended at the 
temple and at the palace. 

Descriptions have been written of the roadways ic the City 
®f Mexico by Prescott and other nist( rians. These extended 
across the lakes, and separated the fresh water from the salt 
water and formed great causeways, which connected the island 
city with the shores of the lake.'and so with the neighboring 

cities. There were, however, other cities in Mexico, Central 
America, and even in Peru, which were the seats of empire and 
which were reached by roadways which were even more skill- 
fully wrought and carefully attended than those of Mexico. 

There were also, as we have seen, remarkable gateways in 
this region, to which the name of "Toitec Gates" has been 
given. These gateways were to be sure generall)- connected 
with fortresses, but they differed so much from those of the 
temples of Mexico and of the cities of Peru, as to be dis- 

One such gateway has been described by Mr.W. 11. Holmes 
as situated near Mitla; other similar gateways were common 


a, a, a. Inner wall with heap of stone.s intended for use in defense, b. Outer wall, 
c. Space between walls, d. Gateway. Height of walls from lo to i6 feet. 

among the Mound-Builders of Ohio. They consisted in the 
overlapping of the walls of the fort in such a way, as to make 
a narrow, crooked passage, exposed to the missiles of those 
who might stand upon the walls. 

The most interesting city is Quemada, situated in southern 
Zacatecas, not far from the northern border of Mexico. This 
city has long been in ruins, but was probably built by the 
Toltecs, a race which preceded the Aztecs and are supposed 
by some to have abandoned the region at the advent of this 
wild tribe, which came from the North, and finally settled in 


the valley of Mexico and usurped the power over all the neigh- 
boring tribes. A description furnished by Mr. Bancroft was 
drawn from some of the early explorers, and is very important, 
for it shows the similarity between this ancient city and the 
city of Teotihuacan, which has recently awakened so much in- 
terest, because of the number of ancient pyramids contained 
in it, and especially because of the ancient roadway to which 
the name " Path of the Dead "' has been given. 

The following is Bancroft's description of Quemada: "The 
most important of famous ruins of the whole northern region 
are those which are known to the world under the name of 
Ouemada, in southern Zacatecas. The ruins are mentioned by 
the early writers as one of the probable stations of the migra- 
tory Aztecs. The early name is " Los Edificios." 

Sr. Gil says : "These ruins are the grandest among us after 
those of Palenque, and on examining them, it is seen that they 
were the fruit of a civilization more advanced than that which 
was found m Peru at the time of the Incas, or in Mexico at the 
time of Montezuma." 

Bancroft describes the situation, and says: 

The Cerro de los Edificios is a long, narrow, isolated hill, tJie summit of 
which is over half a mile in lengtli from north to soutli, and loo to 200 yards 
wide, except at the nortliern end, where it widens out to about 500 yards. 
The heijjht of the hill is given by Lvon as from 200 to 300 feet, but by 
Burkhart at 800 to qoo feet above the level of the plain. In the central 
part is a cliff, rising about thirty feet above the rest c)f the plateau. From 
the brow the hill descends more or less percipitoush on the different sides, 
for about 150 feet, and then stretches in a gentler slope of from 200 to 400 
yards to the surrounding plain. On the slope and skirting the whole cir- 
cumference of the hill, except on the north and northeast, are traces of 
ancient roads crossing each other at different angles, and connected by 
cross roads running up the slope with the works on the summit. 

One of the roads has traces of having been inclosed or raised by walls. 
whose foundations yet remain; and from it at a point near the angle of the 
raised causeway, g^ feet wide, extends straight up the slope northeastward 
to the foot of the^bluff. From a point near the junction of tiie road and 
causeway, three raised roads, paved with roujjh stones, extend in perfectly 
straij^ht lines southwest, and southwest bv south. The first terminates at 
an artificial mound across the river. The second extends four miles to the 
Coyote Rancho, and the third is said to terminate at a mountain, six miles 

Two similar roads, thirteen or fourteen feet wide, extend from the east- 
ern slope of the hill; one of them crossing a stream and terminating at a 
distance of two miles in a heap of stones [shrine?]. 

The most numerous and extensive ruins are on the southern portion of 
the hill, where the part of the uneven surface is formed into platforms, or 
terraces, by means of walls of solid masonry; the whole structure being- 
twenty-one feet wide, and of the same height. On the platforms thus 
formed are a great number of edifices in different degrees of dilapidation. 

On the lower part of the mesa, near the head of the causeway, is a 
quadrangular space, measuring 200x240 feet, bounded by a stone terrace, 
or embankment, four or five feet Ingh and 20 feet wide. At one point, on 
the eastern terrace, stands a round pillar, 19 feet in circumference and of 
the same height as the wall- 18 feet. There are visible traces of nine other 
similar pillars, seemingly indicating the former presence of a massive col- 
umn-supported portico. Within the walls of the inclosure. 23 feet from the 
side, \g'4 feet from the ends, is a line of n pillars, each 17 feet in circum- 
ference and of the same height as the walls. There can be little doubt that 


tliese colurpns once sustained a roof. The roof was made of large, flat 
stones, covered wiih mortar and supported by beams. 

In another place we have a square inclosure similar to the one described. 
Its sides are 150 feet, bounded by a terrace 3 feet high and 12 feet wide, 
with steps in center of terrace of each side. Back of the terrace, on the 
east, we^-t, and south sides, stand walls 8 or g feet in thickness and 20 ftct 
kigh. The north side of the square is bounded by the steep side of the 
central cliff, in which steps or seats are cut in some parts in the solid rock, 
and others built up with rough stones. In the centre of this side, and 
partially on tlie terrace is a truncated pyramid, with a base of 38 x 35 feet, 
and IQ feet high, and divided into several stories. In front of the pyramid, 
and nearly in the center of the square, stands a kinds of altar or pyramid, 
seven feet square and five feet high. A very clear idea of this altar is given 
in the cut. It presents an interior view, from a point on the southern ter- 
race — the pyramid in five stories, the central altar, the eastern terrace with 
its steps, and standing portions of the walls are all clearly portrayed. 

Bancroft says further: 

The ruins of Quemada show but few analogies to any of the southern 
remains, and none whatever to any that we shall find further north. As a 
strongly fortified hill, bearing also temples, Quemada bears considerable 
resemblance to Quiotepec in Oajaca; and possibly the likeness would be 
still stronger, if a plan of the Quiotepec fortifications were extant. The 
massive character, number, and extent of the monuments show the builders 
to have been a powerful and. in some respects, an advanced people, hardly 
less so, it would seem at first thought, than the people of Central America; 
but the absence of narrow buildings, covered by arches of over-lapping 
stones, and of all decorative sculpture and painting, make the contrast very 

The pyramids, so far as they are described, do not differ very materially 
Irom some in other parts of the country; but the location of the pyramids 
shown in the drawing and plan, within the inclosed and terraced squares, 
seems unique. The pillars recall the roof structures of Mitla. but it is 
quite possible that the pillnrs of Quemada supported balconies, instead of 
roofs. The peculiar structure, several times repeated, of two adjoining 
quadrangular spaces inclosed by high walls, one of them containing some- 
thing like an altar in the center, is an important feature. 

While Quemada does not compare, as a specimen of advanced art, with 
Uxmal and Palenque, and is inferior, so far as sculpture and decoration are 
concerned, to most other Nahua architectural monuments, it is yet one of tkc 
most remarkable of American ruins, presenting strong contrasts to all the 
rest, and is well worthy of a more careful examination than it has ever yet 

Now, we have dwelt on this description of Quemada, be- 
cause of it."^ resemblance to the ancient cities of the Mayas, 
such as Palenque, Uxmal, and Chichen-Itza. The city seems 
to ha\e contained a fortified citadel and temple, very much as 
the Eastern cities did; the paved causeways may be regarded 
as the principal streets, on which the habitations of the people 
were built of perishable material, and in this respect reminding 
us of the City of Mexico. The platforms, pyramid, and altar 
resemble those at Palenque. The rectangular courts are simi- 
lar to those which were common in all the ancient cities of this 

The presence of columns at this ruin of Quemada is im- 
portant, for the same features are prominent in the ruins at 
Mitla, a city situated at the extreme southern limits of Mexico. 

•See Bancroft's " Native Races of the Pacific Coast," Vol. IV., page 502. 


as Quemada is near the northern limit. This shows that a 
style of architecture prevailed during the Toltec period through- 
out this entire province, and that nearly all the cities contain 
about the same elements. The ornamentation of the walls at 
Mitla is very different from any that was discovered in the 
other ruins, and yet the city of Xochicalco has a building; 
whose fa(;ade is covered vvith grotesque ornaments, which, per- 
haps, show as much skill and culture as that shown at Mitla. 

III. The comparison between this ruined city and others 
which have been ascribed to the Toltecs will be. perhaps, sug- 
gestive. The first city which comes to notice, is Teotihuacan, 
which Mr. W. H. Holmes has explored and has published a 
description of in the Report of the Field Columbian Museum. 
The following is his account: 

In the magnitude of its remains, and in the evidence the site furnishes 
of population and antiquity, Teotihuacan stands easily at the head of the 
ancient cities of Mexico. The bulk of the great cluster of pyramids, ter- 
races, and mounds is far in excess of that of any other group of remains. 
Choiula has a greater pyramid, but lacks the multiplicity of attendant 
structures, which at San Juan cover square miles of ground. If the entire 
mass of the ruined structures of either Chichen-Itza, Uxmal, or Mitla was 
to be heaped up in a single mound, it would hardly surpass the great pyra- 
mid of the Sun alone in bulk, and the whole bulk of the Teotihuacan 
remains is many times that of its chief pyramid. Of the history of this 
great center of population and culture, we have hardly a trace, save that 
turnished by the remains themselves. The building of the city has been 
attributed to the Toltecs, but we cannot safely say more than that the 
builders were probably one of the numerous Nahuatl nations. The art 
remains indicate a culture differing decidedly ftom that of Tenochtitlan, 
the Aztec capital, now the capital city of Mexico, differing from it in s* 
many ways, as to warrant the inference of a distinct nation. 

In the laying out of Teotihuacan there is more evidence of foresight, 
than in most of the ancient cities. Though the orientation is not accurate 
— showing an error of about fifteen degrees the important features arc 
arranged in more or less complete harmony above a great artery-like 
thoroughfare called " The Camino de los Muertos," "The Pathway of the 

The two great pyramids stand in a class by themselves, entirely over- 
shadowing the multitude of piles that cover the plain. These pyrarnids, as 
well as other pyramidal masses, were probably substructures for buildings. 
All were truncated and ascended by stairways, and the sides of the loftier 
were generally terraced. 

The Pyramid of the Moon occupies the immediate foreground in the 
panorama. A, and though now somewhat rounded in contour, from crumb- 
ling above and accumulation of debris below, the original form was evidently 
that of a rectangular, truncated pyramid. The base of the mound measures 
about 450 feet from north to south, and 500 feet from east to west; the trun- 
cated summit is not far from 50 x 60 feet. The sides sloped originally at a« 
angle ot about 4=; degrees, and were interrupted by narrow terraces, now 
barely traceable. Early visitors mention the occurrence of remnants of a 
stairway on the east side, and indefinite references are made to a buildinf 
•n the summit. The summit commands a splendid view of the ruin group, 
and in the palmy days of the great city the spectacle from this point must 
have been imposing indeed. 

The vast mound of the Pyramid of the Sun, b, surrounded by its 
associated remains, is the most imposing structure in America. With its 
rounded outlines and the massiveness of a natural hill, it vet presents o» 
close inspection clear indications of its former wholly artificial and sym- 
metric character. It is a truncated pyramid, nearly 180 feet high above its 



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immediate base, and. perhaps, a little more than that abcn e the floor of the 
Pathway of the Dead, or the general level of the plain, ll is about 700 feet 
square at the base, though the measurements given are hardly more than 
estimates, as the lower parts are covered with vast accumulations of debris. 
The slopes did not varv greatly from 45 degrees, though now appearing 
much less than that. Terraces are still seen at three levels: that on the 
west side, facing the Pathway of the Dead, occurs nearly midway in the 
slope, and is between 20 and 30 feet wide; the others are quite narrow. 
The summit is not far from 106 feet square, but is now too much broken 
down to be accurately measured. Remains of a zig-zag stairway are said 
to have been observed on the east face, but as with the other pyramid, 
analogy would lead to the surmise that the real stairway was on the west 
side, thus giving a more direct descent from the summit temple, which we 
assume must have existed, to the great central artery of the city. 

An important feature of the ancient city was the great Court of the 
liattered Goddess, lying at the south base of the Pyramid of the Moon and 
opening into the Pathway of the Dead. It is 600 or 700 feet square, and is 
surrounded by a line of imposing mounds, abo\e which, on the north, 
towers the Pyramid of the Moon. Near the centre is a low mound, the 

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wreck of an inferior pyramid, whose position would indicate that in former 
days it probably had an important part to play in the affairs of ♦he city. 

Opening out of the great court to the south is the so called " Pathway 
of the Dead." A depressed way, varying from 200 to 300 feet in width and 
extending a little west of south (15 degrees) to the Arroys. of the Rio -San 
Juan, and continuing beyond into the fields surrounding the modern village, 
a distance of nearly two miles. Though this pyramid bordered way pre- 
sents the appearance of a roadway, it is not truly a thoroughfare, being 
crossed by low embankments and interrupted by pyramids at several points. 
The name given appears to have no particular significance, yet it serves in 
a way to express the idea, suggested to all minds, that this pathway, in con- 
nection with the court, must have been the scene of no end of rites and 
pageants in which human sacrifice was possibly a central feature. 

Tkg South Side Group or Citadel. The great quadrangular group 
aamed and the citadel, re, lies on the east side of the Pathway of the Dead, 
Soo or 600 feet south of the banks of the Arroya. It consists of a rect- 
angular inclosure. about 1,350 by 1,400 feet in extent, measured around the 
exterior base. The embankment is from 100 to 180 feet wide, and from 10 
to 20 feet in height; the four sides are surmounted by lines of mounds, 
four on a side, placed somewhat unsymmetrically near the altar margin. 
Within the court, near the east side, stands a pyramid, perhaps 200 feet 


square at the base, and 60 feet high, having a projection or terrace built 
against the west base, while low embankments extend north and south 
trom the pyramid connecting it wiih the inclosing ridge. This grand 
group of structures is in an advanced state of ruin, the crumbling piles 
having been reduced to natural profiles by centuries of cultivation and 
kerdmg, and no traces of the superstructures, which must once have 
crowned the pyramids, are now to be seen. Everywhere there are scenes 
«f ancient occupation. 

The sketch for the Panoramic View was made from the summit of the 
Pvramid of the Moon. This monument is made to appear in its proper 
relation to its associates, and occupies the immediate foreground, a. At 
the left, rising grandly above its cluster of terraces and attendant p\ ramids, 
is the Pyramid of the Sun, B. The pyramid-bordered court of the Battered 
Goddess, c, appears behind the Pyramid of the Moon, and leading out of 
this and extending far away toward the south is the Pathway of the Dead, 
and beyond the Pyramid of the Sun, on the sonthern bank of the Arroya 
of the Rio San Juan, is the noble group called the Citadel, e. The course 
of the Rio San Juan, which runs to the west- that is, to the right in the 
picture— is indicated by the letters r, f, and the Cathedral of the Village 
of San Juan appears at G. The object of the panoramic sketch is to give 
a map-like clearness and completeness to the view, while the photograph 
serves to record details of actual appearance. It should be observed, 
however, that the photographic views do not bring out the minor works 
to advantage, as they are obscured by culture features. 

The city of Mitla, situated on the southern borders of 
Mexico, best illustrates the Toltec architecture. The ruins of 
this city have been described by various explorers and seem to 
present all the features which were peculiar to other Toltec 
cities, with some that were peculiar to the Maya cities in Guate- 
mala and Honduras. Among the most notable feature in this 
city are the massive colums, which were used for the support 
of the roof, and in some cases to support the floor of the main 
apartment. In this respect they resemble the columns which 
were found at Quemada, and at the same time resemble the 
columns found at Chichen-Itza and Palenque, but differ from 
them in this respect: they are placed inside of the walls, in- 
stead of outside, as in the Maya cities. 

Another feature of the architecture at Mitla is. that the 
walls are highly decorated with sculptural stones, which pre 
sent various conventional ornaments resembling the Greek 
fret. The description of these ornaments and of the general 
construction of the city will be given at a future time, though 
attention is called to them here as furnishing one more speci- 
men of the far famed Toltec culture. 




We have spoken of the ruined cities of America, and have 
described those which were erected b>' the Aztec and the Toltec 
tribes and shown their characteristics; but have not yet fully 
described the architectural styles which were embodied in 

We take up this for our present subject, but shall draw a 
comparison between the cities of America and those which 
have recently been discovered in the ancient lands of the 
East — in Babylonia, in Syria and Greece, and the islands of the 

L We shall first speak of their geographical situation and 
their general characteristics. It is well known that the cities 
of America are confined to certain belts of latitude, which 
correspond in a certain degree to those in which the older 
cities of the East are to be found. There is a significance in 
this, for it proves that all the nations of the earth have had to 
struggle with the obstacles which nature planted in their way; 
but that those nations which were situated where the mere 
struggle for existence was so severe have remained in a bar- 
baric or savage condition, while those that dwelt in the midst 
of rich plains, where climate and soil favored their progress, 
have always been the first to reach a high grade of civilization. 
In these localities we find that art and architecture made their 
most rapid growth. 

It will be understood that the cities of the Old World 
were situated in the midst of rich valleys, where the 
means of subsistence were easily gained, where a large popu- 
lation could be supported free from attack, and where diversity 
of employment could be followed without disturbance. Such 
was the case with the cities in Babylonia, in Egypt, in Syria, 
Epirus, and the regions about the Mediterranean Sea The 
ruined cities of America are also found on those rich plains, 
where vegetation is abundant and where the means of subsist- 
ence are numerous. In fact some of the cities are surrounded 
by vegetation which is so rank that it immediately grows up 
after explorers have removed it for the sake of getting a view 
of the ruins, and new explorers have to do the work over 

Another feature is to be noticed: these ancient cities of 
the Old World were built near where there was an abundant 


water supply, and generally upon rivers which furnished facili- 
ties for commerce as well as agriculture. It is well known that 
in Babylonia and Egypt irrigation had reached a high stage of 
perfection. The plains were covered with a net-work of canals, 
the remains of which are to be seen to this day. There was 
no irrigation practiced either in Greece or Syria, but the streams 
were numerous and the water supply abundant. 

The cities of America were also situated where there was 
an abundant supply of water. Such was certainly the case in 
Mexico and Peru. The cities of Central America were not so 
well supplied, but they were always near some stream, or 
around some cenote or great well, which because of its water 
supply became sacred. It was the most important object, and 
often received offerings of gold and silver and precious stones, 
and even human bodies were thrown into them. 

II, The commercial advantages of the ancient cities was im- 
portant. It will be noticed that they are all near some sea„ 


or near some water course. Many of them were in the midst 
of rich plains which were capable of being irrigated, and all 
were in localities where there were many resources, so that 
their wealth and power rapidly increased. We need not dwell 
upon this point, for it is well known that the cities of Egypt 
were upon one side of the Mediterranean, those of Greece 
upon another, Syria on a third, and between them were the 
islands upon which many remarkable cities have recently been 
discovered, such as Crete, Knossos and Cyprus. The cities of 
Babylonia were upon the Tigris, but were connected with those 
upon the Red Sea in eastern Africa upon one side, and those 
of India upon the other. The lines of communication being 
open to the coast of Asia upon the northeast, and northwest 
even reaching up as far as the borders of China 

In America the cities were also near great bodies of water,. 


the Pacific upon one side, and the Atlantic and Gulf of 
Mexico on the other, and were in the midst of rich lands 
which could be cultivated by irrigation. The agricultural 
products united with the fruits gathered from the tropical 
vegetation made it very easy to secure, not only the neces- 
sities of life but the luxuries. One can easily see how that in 
America there could have arisen a form of civilization perfectly 
independent of any other, and that great progress in art and 
architecture might have been made without aid from any 
source. And yet the fact that there are so many resemblances 
between the styles which appeared here and those which were 
common in the eastern hemisphere, has led many to believe 
that there was a contact in prehistoric times. This conviction 
is based not so much on the fact that there were here such com- 
mon things as boats, bridges, aqueducts, canals, roadways 
and fortified places, but in the general arrangement and group- 


ing of buildings, the styles of ornamentation which appeared 
upon them, and especiall)' the symbols which were embodied in 
their altars, temples, palaces and other buildings. Whatever we 
may say as to the antiquity of man upon this continent and 
the date at which architecture made its first appearance, yet 
we must look to the cities of the East for the first history of 
architecture and for its beginnings. Still we find the elements 
of architecture here, for many of these cities contain great 
buildings which are furnished with doorways, cornices, columns, 
coping, and roofs, all exhibiting a high degree of art; some of 
them are covered with sculptured figures, and occasionally with 
hieroglyphics, which show that much advancement had been, 
made in art and architecture among the people. 

The buildings in these cities showed a great variety of 
styles and uses, for there were palaces and temples, and shrines 


and religious houses filled with courts and halls and many 
apartments; the ground plan of the palaces being almost 
identical with those which represent the ancient palaces of the 
East, and the arrangement or grouping of the palaces and 
temples, towers and courts being very similar. These cities 
are silent, and we must depend upon our imagination to realize 
the life which formerly existed. When, however, we read the 
history of those cities which the Spaniards discovered, and 
which were inhabited at the time they reached the continent, 
it becomes easy for us to rehabilitate them, and to fili them 
again with a life which has long since passed away. When 
we look upon the ruins which are scattered over the land, 
and see in them the signs of magnificence and wealth which 
prevailed, we are led to believe that the accounts of the early 
historians have not been exaggerated, for every city seemed to 
be full of palaces, temples, and halls, which were covered with 
barbaric ornaments, indicating that the ruling classes had great 
power over the common people. Near these palaces were 
courts and plazas, within which were statues, sculptured col- 
umns and tablets, which show that pride and luxury prevailed 
along with great wealth, exactly as in Oriental lands. 

We have the record of Belshazzar's feast and the destruction 
which came upon the city of Babylon; we have, also, the story 
of Queen Esther, who, of all the women contained in the 
harem of the great monarch, was willing and able to save her 
own people from destruction; but the opinion is that in the 
great cities of America the same despotism was exercised by 
the ruling classes over the common people. Luxury and 
pride continued, and the resources of the land were taxed to the 
very utmost. The whole land was given over to its thraldom 
and the same calamity came upon the people that afterward 
came to the northern kingdom at the advent of the Spaniards. 

III. The feature which was the most common, was an ele- 
vation which served as a citadel, commonly called the "acro- 
polis." The temples and palaces were placed upon these 
heights, and often gave them the character of " fortress cities." 

Some of these citadels were with walls and some without, but 
the chief effort of architecture was expended upon their con- 
struction. They became the most prominent objects in the land- 
scape and a most important feature to the cities. The majority 
of the cities of Central America were of this character, and 
were in consequence so similar in their general arrangement, 
that one might suppose that they were all built after the same 
pattern. A good example of this may be found at Xochicalco, 
situated about seventy-five miles from the City of Mexico, the 
ruins of which have been visited by many explorers. The fol- 
lowing is the description by Mr. Bancroft : 

Here is a natural elevation of conical form, with a base over 200 teet 
in circumference, rising to a plain of a height of nearly 400 feet. Mr, 


Latrobe mentions a wall of large stones tightly wedged together, some of 
them eight feet wide, leading in straight lines toward the hill in each 
direction. A ditch, more or less filled up and overgrown with shrubbery, 
is said to extend entirely around the base of the hill. Near the southern 
entrance are two tunnels or two galleries, one of which extends a distance 
of eighty-two feet, with several branches running in different directions, 
the, floor paved, walls supported by masonry, the principal gallery termi- 
nating after several hundred feet in a large apartment in which are two 
circular pillars cleft in the living rock to support the roof. The outer sur- 
face of the Hill of Flowers is covered from top to bottom with masonry. 
Five terraces paved with stone and mortar, supported by perpendicular 
walls, extend in oval form entirely around the circumference of the hill — 
one above the other. It is evident , from all accounts, that the whole surface 
of the hill was shaped, to some extent, artificially and was covered with 
stone work, and that defense was one object aimed at by the builders, that 
the supporting walls, projecting upward above, formed a parapet. On the 
summit is a platform 285 x 328 feet. 

Within this parapet was a sunken area, which made the plaza, and near 
the center of the plaza was a pyramid, the lower story of which has a 


rectangular base, which faced the cardinal points and measured 65 feet 
from east to west, and 58 feet north and south. The lower story is still 
standing to its full height; it is divided into what may be termed plinth, 
frieze and cornice, and is about 16 feet high. 

The building itself is covered with a series of grotesque 
figures in the form of serpents, represented as rolling along the 
ground, with the head turned back and the mouth open — a 
form of decoration which was peculiar to this region, and 
which represented the mythology of the people. The whole 
hill, with its terrace artificially shaped and its massive structure 
upon the summit, reminds us of the artificial hills which are so 
common in the valley of the Tigris, in Syria, and other lands 


of the East. These hills are known to mark the sites of 
ancient cities, but instead of marking the spot where a single 
city stood, they have been found to contain a succession of 
many cities and carry back the date of history many thousands 
of years. Similar heaps have been found in Syria; the most 
notable of which is the "Mound of Many Cities," which Mr. 
F. H. Bliss has explored and described. There were also great 
artificial hihs in Asia Minor and in Greece, which marked the 
sites of the ancient cities of Troy, of Corinth, and of Mycenae. 

IV. As to the race among which the earliest cities of the 
Old and the New World appeared there is some uncertainty. 
It is supposed there was what is called a ground race,— a race 
which has received different names, according to the locality 
in which it is found — Lybian in Africa, Pelasgian in Greece, 
Accaddian in Babylonia, Etruscan in Rome, Dravidic in India, 
Mongolian In China, Maya in Central America, Quichua in 
Peru. This race was followed by others. The Semitics in 
Babylonia, Phoenicians m Syria, Crete and the islands of the 
sea, and by the Aryans in India and European countries. 

We go back to Persia and Epirus and Italy for the earliest 
specimens of architecture found in Europe, but it is to the so- 
called ground race that we ascribe all the rude stone monu- 
ments in Europe, Africa, Syria, Persia and India, though it is 
unknown what race erected those found in Peru. The pyra- 
mids, on the other hand, have generally been ascribed to the 
Semitic race, but those in Central America to the Mayas and 
the Nahuas, who belong to an entirely different stock, their 
style of architecture being transmitted by the Toltecs to the 
Nahuas or Aztecs, though with many variations. The follow- 
ing quotation from Prof Conrad Hoeblar will be appropriate : 

The race had a special knowledge of architecture. In its religious 
ideas it must have risen far above the animism and totemism of the wild 
tribes, for it would seem that Teligion played an extraordinary part in all 
the phases of life. Almost everywhere there are structures which show a 
high degree of taste and mechanical skill. The towns were found by the 
Spaniards forsaken and in ruins. In the legends of the Indians the ruins 
are called palaces and fortresses. 

The country between Nicaragua on the south and the valley of Mexico 
on the north had been the home of the oldest civilization of the New World 
It is not yet fully possible to give exact dates for its beginnings, but if any- 
one starting with a conception of the New World considers the civilization 
as recent in its origin, he does it great injustice, The native authors who 
have written the history, occasionally carry the beginnings back as far as 
the last century before the Christian era, and the dynasties which have been 
successfully identified by the the hieroglyphics go back nearly to that date. 
The whole of Central America has undoubtedly passed through a uniform 
process of civilization, a civilization which seemed to be complete before 
the people of Nahua origin came down from the north and invaded the 

The number of the relics of the Maya civilization which lie hidden 
in the forests of Nicaragua, Honduras, and Yucatan continue to increase 
year by year. Now and again an unexpected discovery extends the area 
beyond its known limits, and new stvles of architecture are found, which 
astonish the discoverers by their elaborateness and perfection. In the district 


of Chiapas, in the low forests of the Umasintla Valley, we must place not 
only the highest development of the Maya civilization, but also its earliest 
home. The southern boundary of the Maya district is as yet unknown, 
but it extended to the seacoast on either side, and left its ruins on the 
islands of the sea. On the north the characteristics of the Nahua make a 
sharp division, but on the south the style of the neighboring peoples is very 
indefinite. Within these boundaries the Maya civilizatioi> embraces^an 
area of about 70,000 square miles, 

As to the characteristics of the Maya architecture, the study of the 
monuments lead to the same results. The monuments of Copan, Palenque, 
and Chichen-Itza bear the marks of a uniform development. The fact be- 
comes plain that it was not merely the result of a few individuals, who had 
arisen to the perfection of art, manifested by these works of architecture, 
but the entire race, for the ingenious system of writing and of arithmetical 
notation and chronology extends all over the land. On the high land of 
Guatemala, on the lowlands of the Umasintla Valley, in the far east of 
Cozumal, and in the far west, the works of the Maya people are seen. To- 
day nearly all these places lie far from the roads, hidden in the depths of 
the forest. Tht: very names of the places are forgotten: separated at no 
great distance, but reaching from the foot of the mountain to the sea, the 
ruined sites of Ococingo, of Palenque, and of Piedras Negras are now 
seen, each forming a large town or city; the center of a religious and 
political life, around which a large population clustered. 

The characteristics of the architecture of the Mayas are peculiar, they 
are pervaded with the Mythologic creations and were devoted to religious 

5- ^-'^ -, 


purposes. There are no profane buildings, but a great number of religious 
buildings of great extent and beauty. The conclusion offers itself at once, 
that the social and political life of the Mayas was of the utmost importance. 
The priests belonged to the ruling classes and had great power, and the 
kings were deified, for their statues were erected in the courts and were 
worshipped as idols, and offerings were placed before them. 

V. It was during the reign of 'the priest-kings in America 
that the mythologic style of architecture appeared. Such was 
the case, however, everywhere. The mythologic ornaments 
differed according to the locality and according to the form of 
mythology which prevailed, yet there were many resemblances 
between them, and it will be well to examine these, for they 
illustrate the peculiarity of architecture at this particular stage. 

In the far East, where domestic animals abounded, there 
were winged bulls with human heads, and human figures with 
birds' heads and wings. In Phcenicia there were lions, bulls 
and human figures, but without wings. In Greece and Persia, 
two lions with the column standing between them. In India 


the elephant was a common ornament, but it was associated 
with the serpent. In Egypt there were human figures with 
dogs' heads; heads of the ibex, of the ape, of the ox, of the 
crocodile, and other animals which abounded in the region. 
In China the dragon was the most common ornament, but it 
was without wings. In Corea, the tiger. In Japan, the stork. 

On the North- 
west coa'^t the 
bear and the 
raven were the 
common sym- 
bols, but these 
were mingled 
with the human 
figures in various 
att i t u d e s. In 
Central America 
the serpent with- 
out wings was 
used, but gener- 
ally having a hu- 
man face, look- 
ing out from the 
open jaws. In Peru the ornaments assumed a conventional 
shape, but the condor, the serpent, and *he face of the sun were 
seen upon the fagades of the temples and the gateways which 
led to the cemeteries. 

In many countries plants were mingled with animals, but 
were highly conventionalized; the lotus being very common 
in Egypt; the honey suckle in Nineveh, and along with it the 
pine cone. In Central 


, ? ^ . » w 

America the cornstalk, the 
tobacco leaf and other 
plants were used as orna- 
ments, but they were asso- 
ciated with human figures 
and hieroglyphics. Human 
figures in grotesque atti 
tudes were used as architec- 
tural ornaments, and were 
especially noticeable in the 
islands hrough the Pacific 
Ocean. These are sugges- 
tive of the mythology which 
prevailed. Specimens of 
them may be seen in the cuts. 
At a later stage the col- 
umn came into use as an architectural ornament. The first 
appearance of the column is in connection with the caves of 
•^Sypt- It slso appeared very early in Persia, Babylonia and 



Greece. The earliest form of the column in Greece, is that 
which appeared over the gateway at Mycenae. It stands be- 
tween two lion figures, but its position is reversed, as it tapers 
from the top to the bottom, rather from the bottom to the 

top, though it has the pediment and the 
capital. It was used as a support as well 
as an ornament, for it rests upon a heavy 
lintel and supports a capstone of an arch, 
the three-fold element of architecture 
being combined in one. In America the 
column was used as an ornament, but it 
had a highly conventionalized form. 
There was no pediment and no capital, 
but instead there were bands in relief 
about the middle of the column. Occa- 
sionally human figures and grecques arc 
interspersed among the columns. 

The locality where the column is most 
numerous is in the Umasintla Valley, not 
far from the borders of Guatemala, in the 
region where the Maya tribes had their 
habitat. Here many palaces have been 
recently discovered and their forms of 
decoration made known by Mr. Teobert 
Maler. Descriptions have been published 
in Globus, accompanied by plates, two of 
which are reproduced and presented 
here. It will be seen from these plates 
that the columns are crowded close to- 
gether and form the chief ornament on the entablature; one 
row placed between the cornice and the coping; other rows 
above and below. The Greek fret intervenes between the col- 
umns, giving great variety to the ornamentation. In other 
places the human figure is mingled with the columns. A palace 
is depicted in Globus, which has the conventionalized hook pro- 
jecting from its facade. Another palace has a series of door- 
ways whose piers are covered with hieroglyphics. Still another 
has a fagade, with no columns but a beautiful leaf ornamenta- 
tion. There is, also, here a square tower, the upper story of 
which has the Greek fret work, and the lower, the banded col- 
umn. It may be said of all these palaces and buildings, that 
they exhibit a stage of architecture in which mythologic figures 
seem to have been gradually passing away, and conventional 
figures taking their place; a stage which reminds us of that 
which appeared in regions around the Mediterranean just be- 
fore the beginnings of history. This change from the myth- 
ologic figures to the conventional forms is very interesting, for 
it suggests the idea that the law of evolution prevailed in 
architecture, as in all other things, an idea which has been 
elaborated by various authors. 



VI. It is to this new style that we would call attention. It 
was a style which consisted in the use of columns as a decora- 
tive ornament, and in the banishment of many mythological 
figures which had preceded it. They are not perfect columns, 
for they lack the pediment and the capital, and yet they served 
the purpose, for they are very symmetrical and give an air of 
stateliness and refinement, which is in great contrast to the 
mythologic style which had prevailed. The cities in which 
this columnar style prevails are mainly in the Umasintla Val- 
ley, and \'et they are so close to other cities, that one is led to 
wonder how they could have arisen. The conclusion is that 
they are perhaps more recent, and were possibly erected by 
another tribe or race. 

There were, to be sure, as Mr. Charnay has shown, certain 
cities which abounded with square piers which resemble col- 
umns, but they were used as mechanical structures, rather than 
ornaments. There were also at Mitla, as Mr. Holmes has 
shown, piers which served as supports to the roofs and divided 
the doorways, and a few rounded columns, but both of these 
were designed as supports, rather than as ornaments. In the 
Umasintla Valley, on the other hand, the columns were used 
altogether as ornaments and there were no heavy piers. Here, 
the to^ns are scattered along the river and in the forests in 
great numbers, all presenting the same style of architecture; 
many of them, also, exhibiting altars and temples covered with 
hieroglyphics; some of them abounding with stelae of even 
greater perfection than those found at Copan, Palenque, or any 
other locality. There were no such arched buildings, no such 
great pyramids, no such grouping of buildings, and yet the 
style of architecture was more advanced. The feathered 
snake, which was perhaps a symbol of the thunder among the 
Maya races, does not appear in this locality. In fact we meet 
with few traces of symbolism, but, on the other hand, human 
forms are seen in a great variety of attitudes, and the beauty 
of the drapery is not exceeded anywhere on the continent. 

The question here arises as to the origin of these archi- 
tectural ornaments. Did they arise independently of one an- 
other, or shall we ascribe them to the law of parallel develop- 
ment, or were they owing to the fact that they were introduced 
by people who were familiar with them in the Old World, and 
who had brought them with them in their migrations? In 
answer to this, we may say that the early stages of architecture 
were very much alike throughout the globe, but when we come 
to the advanced stages, we find that the differentiation becomes 
more pronounced and architecture arranges itself according to 
the styles which bear the names of the people among whom 
they originated, as the Ionic, Doric and Corinthian owed their 
names to the various tribes and nations which grew up in 
Greece; the Assyrian, Babylonian and Egyptian having the 
names of the people among whom they originated. 


Architecture ranges itself among all nations under certain 
heads — devotional, memorial, civil, naval and domestic — but it 
has been found that in all countries the various structures, 
■whatever their purpose or use, bear the stamp of the people 
who erected them, so that we may distinguish the works of one 
people from the works of another. This does not apply to 
the ordinary structures, such as houses, boats and bridges, for 
these are \ery similar in all countries. It is only when they 
reach a high degree of perfection, that they bear the stamp of 
the people who constructed them; and yet there were tribes in 
America and in the islands of the sea, who so impressed their 
own st\les upon their handiwork, that we have no hesitation in 
deciding as to the people who constructed them. 

VII. This furnishes another important point: there was 
a growth and progress of architecture in America which 




resembled that in the Old World in this respect: that the pre- 
valence of mythologic creations gave place to the more con- 
ventional forms of art. 

All great races have expressed themselves in distinctive 
ways in architecture, and may often be classified by their archi- 
tectural elements. 

From the ethnographic standpoint it would be profitable to 
give the broadest outlook, and yet view architecture retro- 
specti\-ely. The history of every period and every people is 
written in stone, for their architecture is one of the most 
numerous of all historic records. This, through the universal 
law of natural selection, has registered the progress of each 
nation, and has left the evidence of the inner consciousness of 
the people who have long since passed away. We are led to 


believe that the course of true architecture has run in an un- 
broken stream through prehistoric times — one stage following" 
another in regular succession — but without any radical change^ 
and has been stayed in its onward course only by the advent 
of a foreign people, who have broken up all the habits of the 
aboriginal people and left the cities in ruins. The harmony 
which ever exists between the intellectual and social condition 
of man and his outward works was suspended and overthrown 
in that great convulsion, and architecture, as well as civilization, 
was left in a most shadowy condition. 

Still, as we look upon the ruined cities scattered over the dif- 
ferent parts of our own land, we are led to say that originality has 
never been more thoroughly displayed than in these sections of 
the New World. The component parts of each style may, in- 
deed, have been borrowed from a pre\ious condition and must 
be considered the products of an age which has passed away. 
But when it is once realized that a certain phase of architecture 
is the outcome of a certain phase of historic and geographic 
conditions, there will be no hesitation in considering it as a 
reliable indigenous record of the past. 

There are many illustrations given to us by the structures 
of the New as well as of the Old World of the fact that the 
elementary principles are the same on all continents and 
among all people, but the differentiation takes place in the 
more advanced stages; the lowest stages showing to us the 
effect of the purpose to which a structure is devoted; but the 
highest stage showing the effect of the tastes and ideas of the 
people. The architecture of the Old World has been diligently 
studied, and all its peculiarities have been fully described. The 
lesson to be derived from it is that there was a double process 
in every land, viz.: a development from the lowest stages to 
the highest by the unaided energies of the same people, and 
the borrowing of ornaments and styles from other nations and 
incorporating them with those which had been adopted. 

Every archaeologist knows that the figures found over the 
gate at Mycenae are very similar to those found on the tombs in 
Persia. The winged circle and sphinxes found in Assyria are 
similar to those found in Egypt. The winged bulls found in 
Phcenicia are similar to those found in Babylonia, and there is 
no hesitation in saying that they were transmitted. It is also- 
well known that the stupas and pagodas and towers ot China 
closely resembled those found in India, and there is no hesita- 
tion in ascribing them to Buddhism. 

There are in America many ornaments which so resemble 
those found in the Old World, that it is difficult to account for 
them, unless we acknowledge that they were transmitted by 
some unknown source at some unknown time, and adopted 
by the people of this continent. Among these we mav men- 
tion the serpent figures which are so common upon the facjades 
of the palaces and temples of Central America and the stair- 


ways which lead to the temples. These are supposed to sym- 
bolize the great nature powers, and by some are ascribed to a 
separate origin; but it is known that serpent worship prevailed 
throughout both continents, and was the earliest form of 
religion everywhere. The temples in China are surmounted 
by great dragon figures, carved with much skill. These have 
been ascribed to the contact with India, and traced back to 
a ver}' early date. Similar figures have been found in Cash- 
mere, and are supposed to have been introduced by the Bud- 
dhist priests. 

It is supposed that architecture is the product of innate taste 
and always appealed to the sense of innate beauty, but as we go 


back to its early stages and examine the ornaments and sym- 
bols embodied in it, we find that mythology had more effect 
than any other element, and what is very strange, the myth- 
ology is very similar in all countries. As proof of this, we need 
only to refer to the fact that the altars, temples, and even the 
palaces in America were covered with similar hideous objects, 
resembling those of China and India and Babylonia; and at 
times it seems as though these very symbols and ornaments 
had been transmitted from land to land, and finally reached 
this continent. 

The symbols which are the most common, are those of the 
serpent and the tree, and these seem to have been recognized 
by such archaeologists as Sir Arthur Evans in the ruins of 
Knossos and in Crete, conveying the idea that they were car- 
ried to -that region by the Phoenicians, or some ether race. 


The lion and the tree has also been recognized in the rock- 
cut tombs of Persia, as well as at Myceenae and Tiryns. The 
serpent symbols are very prominent in Cambodia, and serves- 

the same purpose — that 
of a guard protecting the 
entrance to the temple. 
In front of the temple 
is a long pavement, on 
either side of which is a 
massive balustrade 
sculptured in the formpf 
massive serpents, with 
fierce-looking heads and 
open jaws; the scales on their bodies and the curved form and 
uplifted head making them very impressive objects, and calcu- 
lated to excite fear among all who approach them. The roll 
of the serpent and 



the position of the 
head are exceedingly 
life-like. There are 
also figures of ser- 
pents over the door- 
ways of the Thlinkeet 
on the N orthwest 
coast, which so close- 
ly resemble those 
seen on the coats of 
arms in the island of 
Borneo, that one is led 
to believe the symbol 
was transmitted from 
Asia to America. 

There are, also, carved columns or stelae at Copan in Central 
America, on which may be seen serpent figures running up 

their whole length, held in the 
hands of dwarfs, whose faces and 
forms stand out in bold relief; the 
heads of the serpents being very 
conspicuous at the top of the col- 
umn. The serpent is a common 
symbol in India, and Buddha is 
often represented as resting upon 
the back of a serpent, with many 
Naga heads forming a hood. 

The question as to the dates is- 
important in this connection. It 
has been ascertained by recent 
discoveries in the Mediterranean, 
as well as in the Tigris, that there- 



were many palaces and temples, walled cities, and labyrinths 


which were erected long before the days of Homer. These 
discoveries carry us back thousands of years, before we really 
find the beginnings, either of history or of art, or of archi- 
tecture. What is more, they prove to us that there were mi- 
grations which extended through long distances, and reached 
not only the waters of the Mediterranean but the coasts of 
India, and possibly extended to the west coast of North 

VIII. This is the lesson, which we learn from comparing the 
architecture oi the Old World with that of the New World. 
There was probably a transmission of types and patterns, sym- 
bols and ornaments, which formed the basis of the architect- 
ural ornaments of the New World. 

The continent may, indeed, have been settled by rude tribes, 
which made their way gradually from north to south, leaving. 


tokens of their progress at various points. But as they 
reached the beautiful valley Mexico and the rich plains! of 
Central America, they began to erect those structures which, 
best served their convenience; making the pyramids above the 
surface of the ground, and placing upon the summits the houses 
of the rulers and surrounding them with all the magnificence 
which belonged to the despots of the East; but leaving the 
common people to occupy the huts similar to those which are 
found at the present date. 

Examples of these points will be found in the various 
cuts; one of which illustrates a serpent or dragon figure 
which was sculptured upon the walls at Xochicalo or the 
" Hill of Flowers"; another represents the mythologic figure 
carved upon the wooden posts in New Zealand; another, the 
square piers and upright walls, which Charnay discovered at 


Tulan in Mexico; another represents the columnar style which 
prevailed in the Umasintla Valley; still another, the columns 
which are still standing in the ruins of Baalbek. Other cuts 
represent the peculiar ornamentation which was common in 
Central America; an ornamentation which is founded upon 
m>thology, but which had become so conxentional that the 
original design can hardly be recognized. It, however, when 
studied, resolves itself into a manitou face. The hook repre- 
senting the face, the peculiar vase-like ornament representing 
the eyes, the two curves representing the eyebrows, the square 
bosses representing the ears, rosettes above representing the 
forehead. This same conventional figure, with variation, may 
be seen on the sculptured front at Kabah. 

There are also ornaments at Kabah and Labnah, and many 
other localities, some of which have features which are evi- 
dently designed to 
represent the faces of /.- 

aborigines, but others 
have features which 
closely represent 
those of a white man 
These various sculp- 
tured ornaments 
bring considerable 
confusion into the ac- 
count, for while there 
is no hesitation in 
ascribing some of 
them to a native ori- 
gm, others so resem- 
ble ornaments and 
symbols which are 
common in the Old 
World, that one is 
tempted to ascribe 
their presence to a 
transmission by some 
unknown means and 
at an unknown date. 
Among these latter 
are the Egyptian tau, 
the Greek fret, the 
scroll, the medallion, 
the lattice work, the crosses of various kinds, and the serpent 
figure. These are, to be sure, so blended with mythologic 
figures, that it is at times quite difficult to separate them, and 
yet there is a marked distinction between the two classes of 

Mr. Stephens speaks of the human face issuing from ser- 
pents' jaws and the hooked symbol extending beyond the 



corner. The frieze which surrounds it presents a scries of small 
human figures, seated in the Eastern manner, with the right 
hand crossed on the breast and with massive plumes upon the 
head. Over the frieze was a cornice, decorated with very- 
delicate designs in the form of meanders in the Greek style. 

The city of Mitla furnishes the best illustration of the 
point which we have in view. This city was situated on the 
southern border of Mexico, in Oaxaca, and presents ruined 
structures which are better preserved than most others in 
Mexico. They are not so extensive as the remains of Monte 
Alban or Teotihuacan, nor do they represent a city comparable 
in size with those which existed in Yucatan and Guatemala. 
They are, however, very interesting, and bear out the impres- 
sion that the pre-Columbian people had developed architecture 
in certain lines, especially temple architecture, far beyond 
the stage commonly ascribed to savage races. The ruins were 
visited by Spanish and later explorers,* and descriptions 
were furnished by them. They have also been visited by 
many persons during the last century, who have furnished 
sketches and drawings of them. Descriptions have been 
furnished by Humboldt, Brasseur de Bourbourg, Kingsborough, 
Viollet le Due, Delafield, Baldwin, Bradford, Prescott, Brantz, 
Mayer, Bandelier, Holmes, and Bancroft. 

The ruins embrace several groups which are situated in a 
valley and a fortress situated on a height of ground, about five 
miles distant, and a remarkable cruciform tomb on the moun- 
tain. There are no high pyramids here, but a large number of 
low platforms, on which are ruined structures, which extend 
in a line from north to south 2,000 feet, and from east to west 
1,000 feet; all of them finished with the highest type of native 
sculpture, but with no animal or human figures upon them. 
Otherwise they resemble the ancient buildings of the Toltecs, 
and may well be compared to the ancient buildings which still 
stand in Central America, at Palenque, Uxmal, and Chichen- 
Itza, and those at Cuzco in Peru, which was the dwelling place 
of the Inca. It may be said of all the buildings, with their 
columns and walls, that they were more substantial and per- 
haps better finished, and show a higher style of art and archi- 
tecture than any which prevailed in the City of Mexico at the 
time it was conquered by Cortez and his troops. 

We infer this, not only from their present condition, after 
the lapse of three or four hundred years, but from the fact 
that they were constructed of stone in a very substantial man- 
ner; while the supposition is that the buildings in the City of 
Mexico were constructed of wood, a supposition which is con- 
firmed by the writer quoted below. 

Bancroft calls them the finest and most celebrated group 
of ruins in Oaxaca, and the finest in the whole Nahua territory. 

•Don Luis Martin, 1802; Dupaix and Castaneda, 180$; Brantz Mayer, i.?37; Muhdanp- 
fordt, 1830; M, de Fossey. i8^8; Sr. Carriodo, 1852; Von Tempsky, i8j4j Garcia, i8j5j CharBaf, 
1859; Holmes, 1897, and M. H. SaviUe, 1900. 


He says that here was a great religious center, often men- 
tioned in the traditional annals of Zapotec. 

The description which we give below has been made up 
of quotations from Mr. Holmes' Report, which, with the plates, 
will show the elaborate character of the ornamentation and 
the main features of their construction. Other writers have 
spoken of the decorations of the walls and the object for 
which the buildings were erected. A few words will, however, 
be appropriate on the resemblances and contrasts between 
these buildings and those situated in the regions both to the 
north and to the south. 

First, in reference to the columns: in Yucatan, round col- 
umns were used, partly for ornament and partly for support, 



[Courtesy of the Field Columbian Museum.] 

and were visible in the facade. In Mitla their use was con- 
fined to the interior, where they were employed to support the 
horizontal roof timbers of the wider chambers. There are but 
three or four rooms so wide as to make such supports necessary, 
in these they are arranged along the center, and doubtless 
supported longitudinal ceiling timbers, though the Spanish 
writer F. de Burgoa quoted by Mr. Ayme, holds, that the ceil- 
ings were made of slabs of stone. 

Second, There were no arches in Mitla such as were 
common among the ancient structures of the Mayas, but the 
buildings were all rectangular, with straight ceilings and per- 

• By this device three of the halls at Mitla were given a ^¥idth from twenty to twenty-three 
feet. The distance between the columns was about equal to that between the columns and the 



pendicular walls, which were highly-embellished. There 
is an arch at Monte Alban which covers an ancient gallery, 
or tomb-like chamber. "The chamber is about twelve 
feet in length, the lateral and end walls faced with squarish 
blocks of slightly-hewn stone, resting on the lateral walls and 
leaning together at the top, in this respect resembling the arch 
within the pyramid at Gizeh." This is the nearest approach 
to an arch that has yet been found in Mexico, or even in 
Central America. There is no such arch at Mitla, and the only 
supports are in the columns. 

Third, There were no corridors, as at Palenque and Uxmal, 
though there were porticos, which receded from the front of the 
buildings and were supported by pillars or square piers, which 
were panelled or sometimes decorated with grecques. 

Fourth, The cornices were totally unlike those common in 
Yucatan, and were mere copings, without any projections, with 


no other entablatures than the grecque panelling below the 

Fifth, The ruins of Mitla resemble Palenque, in the long, 
low, narrow form of the buildings. They also resemble the 
structures of Yucatan in that they are long, narrow, window- 
less buildings, raised on low mounds, and enclosing a rect- 
angular courtyard. 

Sixth, There are no such terraces at Mitla, as there are at 
Monte Alban.* At Quiotepec a hill is made into level plat- 
forms, with terrace walls of stone; also remains of dwel- 
lings, between which was a line of circular pillars. Brantz 
Mayer says that this hill is over a thousand feet high 

» The panorama on page 397 shows the terraces at Monte Alban. 


and a mile long, and there are thirty-five terraces on the west- 
ern slope, fifty-seven on the southern, and eighty-eight on the 
northern. One of the walls at the summit is 320 feet long, 
sixty feet high, and five and one-half feet thick. At different 
points, towards the summit-of the hill, are three tanks, one of 
which is sixty feet long, twenty-four feet wide, and six feet 
deep, with steps leading down to it. Stately edifices, supposed 
to be palaces and temples, face each other, 166 feet apart. 
The palace is thirty-nine feet high, and has a stairway of 
twenty steps, about twenty-eight feet wide, leading up to the 

Seventh, There are no " seats," such as have been described 
as existing at Quemada, at Xochicalco, at Cuzco in' Peru, and 
other places. These so-called "seats" at Quemada are said 
to face the court in which there is an altar, and has been called 
the assembly place, or place of sacrifice. Seats are cut out of 
the solid rock on the summit of a mountain at Tescocingo, the 
site of an Aztec palace which overlooked the plain below. 

As to the object of the buildings there is a great uncer- 
tainty: some hold that they were designed for the residences 
of priest-kings, who made this a great religious center; others 
hold that they resemble palaces, more than they do temples;* 
while others hold that they were places for the burial of the 
dead, and the subteranean chambers were used for the de- 
positing of vases or urns containing the remains of the dead. 
Bancroft calls the ruined edifices, palaces, but describes them 
as if they were temples. He says: 

Here was a great religious center, often mentioned in the traditional 
annals of the Zapotecs. The original name seems to have been Liobaa, 
or Yobaa, "the place of tombs," called by the Aztecs Miquitlan, Mictlan, 
Mitla, "place of sadness," "dwelling of the dead." 

The gloomy aSpect of the locality accords well with the dread signifi- 
cation of Its name. The rains stand in the most desolate portion of central 
Oajaca, in a high, narrow valley, surrounded by bare and barren hills. A 
stream, with parched and shadeless banks flows through the valley, be- 
coming a torrent in the rainy season, when the adjoining country is often 
flooded. No birds sing or flowers bloom over the remains of the Zapotec 
heroes, but venemous spiders and scorpions are abundant.! 

The following description of Mitla is by Francisco de 
Burgoa, who wrote in 1545, and took the same view as other 
Spanish writers of the time, that everything in Mexico of an 
advanced character was from the devil, and was, therefore, to 
be condemned and destroyed, if possible. His description is 
valuable, as it gives a hint as to the use or object of the build- 
ings when they were occupied. He thinks it was a place ruled 
and occupied by the priests, to whom even the kings were sub- 
ject; but it was kept as a burial place for the chiefs of the 

• From all the descriptions which have been given we know that the temples of Yucatan 
w«re erected on summits of pyramids, and were approached by high stairways, some of which 
were furnished with massive stone balustrades in the shape of serpents, whose heads project 
bayond the pyramid, as if designed to protect the temple from the approach of profane feet. 

Th«re is, however, no such temple at Mitla. 

t Bancroft's "Native Races," Vol. IV., page 389 


Zapotecas, though it resembles the inferno, from the depths 
which were there. He says : 

They built in this place this beautiful house or Pantheon, with stories 
and subterraneans, the latter in the concavity which was found under the 
earth, equalling in style the halls which enclose it, having a spacious court; 
and to build the four equal halls they worked with what force and industry 
they could secure from a barbarous people- 
It is not known from what quarry they could cut such great pillars of 
stone, that with difficulty two men could embrace them with their arms 
extended. These, although without capital or pedestal, straight and smooth, 
are more than five yards long, composed each of a single stone, and served 
to sustain the roof. The roof was of flat stones two yards or more long, 
and one broad, and half a yard thick, laid upon the pillars successively. 
The flat stones are so much alike and so well adjusted one to the other, that 
without mortar or cement they appear in their construction like tables 
brought together. The four halls are very spacious, covered in the same 
way with this kind of roof. The walls excelled in execution the work of 
the most skilled artificers of the world, so that neither the Egyptians nor 
the Greeks have written of this kind of architecture, because they began 
at the lowest foundations and followed upwards, spreading out into the 
form of a crown, which projects from the roof in breadth and appears 
likely to fall. 

The centre of the walls is of a cement so strong that we do not know 
with what liquid it was made. The surface is of such a singular construc- 
tion that it shows something like a yard of stones. The sculptured blocks 
serve to hold innumerable little white stones that fill it, beginning with the 
sixth part of an ell and the half of an ell wide and the quarter part of an 
ell thick, so smooth and similar that it seems as if they were made in a 
mold. Of these there was so great a variety, and they were so connected 
one with the other, that various showy pictures an ell wide each, the length 
of the hall, were constructed with a variety of decoration on each as high 
as the capital. And it was so neat that it exceeded the description, and 
what has caused astonishment to great architects was the adjustment of 
these little stones without mortar or any instruments. They worked them 
with hard flints and sand, and produced a building of so much strength 
that, bemg very old and beyond the memory of the living, it has lasted to 
our limes. I saw it much at my ease thirty years ago, The rooms above 
were of the same style and size with those below, and although portions 
were somewhat ruined because some of the stones had been carried away, 
they were very worthy of consideration. The door frames were very 
capacious, composed of a single stone of the thickness of the wall at each 
side. The lintel or architrave was a single stone which held the two below. 
There were four halls above and four below. They were divided in 
this way: That in front, served as a chapel and sanctuary for the idols, 
which were placed in a large stone that served as an altar at the great 
feasts or at the funeral of some king and principal chief. The Superior 
gave notice to the lesser priests or inferior officers that they should arrange 
the vestments and decorate the chapel, and prepare the incense. They 
went down with a great escort without any of the people seeing them, nor 
was it ever permitted them to turn their faces toward the procession, being 
persuaded that they would fall dead in the act of disobedience. Upon 
entering the chapel the priest put on a large white cotton robe, and another 
one embroidered with figures of beasts and birds in the manner of a sur- 
plice or chasuble. Upon his head he had something after the style of a 
mitre, and upon the feet another invention woven with threads of different 
colors, and thus clothed he came with great pomp and circumstance to the 
altar. Making great obeisance to the idols he renewed the incense, and be- 
gan to talk very much between his teeth with these figures, the depositories 
of infernal spirits. In this kind of communication he continued with these 
deformed and horrid objects, that held all overcome with terror and amaze- 
ment until he recovered from his diabolical trance, and told the spectators 
all the fictions and orders which the spirit had persuaded him of, or which 
he had invented. 


When he was oblijjed to make human sacrifices, the ceremonies were 
doubled, and the assistants bent the victim across a great stone, and open- 
ing the breast with some knives of flmt they tore it apart with horrible con- 
tortions of the body, and iaymg bare the heart they tore it out with the soul 
for the Demon. They carried the heart to the Chief Priest that he might 
offer it to the idols, putting it to their mouths with other ceremonies, 

One hall was the burial place of these priests, and another hall was for 
the kings of Theozapotlan, who brought decorations ot the best garments, 
feathers, jewels, and chains of gold with precious stones, arming them with 
a shield in the left hand and in the right a sword, like those they used in 
their wars. During the funeral rites they played upon very sad and dolor- 
ous instruments, and with grievous lamentations and great sobbing they 
went on chanting the life and exploits of their chief, until they placed him 
upon the funeral pile intended for him. The last hall had another door at 
the rear into an obscure and fearful opening that was closed with a great 
stone, to shut the entire entrance, and into it they threw the bodies of 
those that they had sacrificed, and also those of great chiefs or captains 
that had been killed in battle, from whence they brought them, although 
from a great distance, for the purpose of burying them there. Here was 
practised the blind barbarity of the Indians. The wicked priests taught 
those vvho were suffering from infirmities, or from their labors, that here 
they might hope for a happy life; and they let them in alive, among those 
sacrificed. They then withdrew the attendants, and departing by the 


[Courtesy of the Field Columbian Museum.] 

A. Hall of Six Columns. B, c. Passageway from Hall of Columns to Grecque Courts. 
C. Entrance to Grecque Court. D. Supposed passageway; ceiling construction theoretic. 
K. East grecque chamber with doorway into Grecque Court. 

opening, they again replaced the stone. The miserable creatures then, 
wandering about in that dark abyss, perished of hunger and thirst. 

. The high rooms remained open which surrounded the square and 
other halls which were below, and the remains e.xist to the present time. 
One high hail was the palace of the Chief Priest, in which he gave audience 
and slept, which occupied the whole square. The throne was of tlie height 
of a cushion, with arms covered with tiger skins and stuffed with soft 
feathers or very pliable grass adapted to that use. The other seats were 


The second hall was that of the priests and their assistants. The third 
that of the King when he came, and the fourth that of the other leaders 
and captains. The space being limited for so many different and various 
households, they conformed themselves to circumstances, without prefer- 
ences or partiality; no one having any jurisdiction there except the Chief 
Priest, whose authority was supreme over all. 

All the halls were well covered with mats and very clean. No one, not 
even of the highest officers, was permitted to sleep in the upper rooms. 
All used very curious mats upon the ground, with the soft skins ot animals 
and delicate fabrics to cover themselves. Their food was ordinarily 
animals from the mountains— deer, rabbits, and other sorts, — together with 
birds, which they obtained in the lakes or artificial ponds. Their bread 
vras from white corn meal well crushed. 



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!l . 

This descrip- 
tion is very in- 
teresting, for it 
furnishes an ex- 
planation of the 
object of the 
buildings, espe- 
cially the under- 
ground cham- 

The buildings 
alike, that it is 
difficult to tell 
which was used 
for a temple and 
which for a pal- 
ace or even to 
decide whether 
the place was 
used for resi- 
dence or wor- 
ship or the pre- 
servation of the 
dead. There are, 
however, certain 
features which 
are common 
throughout the 
entire province 
of Mexico and, 
with some vari- 
ations, are also 
common in Cen- 
tral America. 
Among th ese 
are subterran- 
ean chambers or 
galleries, which 
are common 
elsewhere, but 
the galleries 
which constitute 
the base men t 
story of one of 
the buildings is 
larger and bet- 
ter finished than 
any other thus 
far discovered. 
It is difficult to 


decide what the purpose of this basement story was, whether 
for protection from the heat, or a gathering place for the priests, 
or a training school for the initiates, or a place for observance 
of sacred ceremonies. 

It will be seen from the panorama that the buildings were 
all arranged in quadrangles, the same as they were at Teotihua- 
can, at Monte Alban, and in the City of Mexico, but with this 
difference: the walls are still standing, though some of them 
are in ruins, while at the locations mentioned they have disap- 
peared, and nothing is left but the platforms on which they 

This quadrangular arrangement of buildings around an 
open court may be seen at Palenque, Uxmal, and Chichen- 
Itza, showing that the general plan of the Toltec cities were 
the same as those of the Mayas. There is, however, this dif- 
ference in all of these cities: there is a lofty pyramid near 
each one of the quadrangles, and on the pyramid an isolated 
temple, or shrine, and one or more stairways leading to it. 
This can be seen by studying the panorama, furnished by Mr. 
W. H, Holmes, and descriptions by Mr. J. L. Stephens and 

There is a general resemblance between the buildings in 
all the cities, both of Mexico and Central America, as the 
most of them are rectangular and are all arranged with the 
doors facing in towards the court. In the southern cities 
there were arched portals, which gave the palace an air of 
stateliness, and sometimes lofty combs on the summit of the 
building, and occasionally there were towers, three or four 
stories high, near the palaces, which gave them apparent 
height, so as to correspond with the temples. 

From the description given by the Spanish historians, we 
learn that the palaces of Montezuma were arranged in the 
same way, and that the Teocalli adjoined the palace and 
was built in the form of a terraced pyramid, with a tower on the 
top of it. It was surrounded by shrines, temples, and altars 
and places of sacrifice, all of them inside of a walled enclos- 

The most interesting of all the ruined buildings are those 
which are situated in a central position, and are arranged in 
quadrangles, but gathered into one group, which is called 
"The Group of the Columns." 

The walls of the buildings are generally between three and 
four feet thick, and are rarely much more than twelve feet in 
height, and there is nowhere any sign of a second story. The 
interior body of the wall is built of rough stone, laid with con- 
siderable regularity in coarse adobe mortar. The surfaces 
were faced with blocks of cut stone, or were finished in plaster. 
The exterior walls and those facing the courts were hand- 
somely finished with panels of fret-work in relief. The doors 
are all large, and the jambs, lintels, and pillar caps are usually 
of cut stones of large size. 







































The study of the native architecture of the New World has 
brought us at last into the midst of the ancient cities of Central 
America. These are proving to be far more numerous than 
has been supposed, but in treating of them vve shall take only 
those which are the most prominent. 

These ruined cities are all characterized by the same fea- 
tures. There is to be seen in each a large quadrangular build- 
ing which is supposed to be the palace. Near it are generally 
several temples or shrines situated on lofty pyramids with 
stairways leading to them. In some of them there is a circular 
or conical building called the castle or caracol which is cen- 
trally located, and may have served as a shrine or temple. It 
has spiral stairways, winding around a central core or column, 
and is somewhat conspicuous. In most of the cities there is a 
large building which is supposed to have been used as a reli- 
gious house, and is called the Nunnery. In some of the cities 
is what is called the Gymnasium or Tennis Court, suggesting 
the idea that the people who dwelt in the city were given to 
amusement, and lived in luxury. There are Courts and Plazas 
.n each of the cities which were probably paved; some of them 
were surrounded by corridors, and were adorned with many 
statues, and altars in front of the statues. 

The cities were situated near a stream or a great well, and 
depended upon these for their supply of water. 

Such are the general features; but there are variations ii\ 
the style of decoration and in the religious symbols, which 
show that each city was ruled over by a different king, and a 
different class of priests, and had its own peculiar style of 
ornament and religious symbols. The palaces and temples are 
always the most prominent in ever)' city, and are noticeable 
because of the peculiar decoritions and carvings which are 
seen upon their facades; and because of the many portrait 
columns which are near them. 

The locality where the greatest number of ruined cities is 
to be found is in the Peninsula of Yucatan. Here are the 
well known cities of Uxnal, Chichen-Itza, Kabih, Izamal, 
Merida, and further to the west, Palenque and Lorillard, a city 


^v I ^ '^n -AW V. 

tf' T? J. -14% 

! I"-- 


which has been described by Charnay, and further to the south- 
west in Guatemala, the famous city of Copan. The physical 
geography of this region is very different from that of Mexico. 
There are no rivers, 
and the few small 
streams along the 
coast extend but a 
few miles inland. 
The Maya race 
which occupied this 
region, was a quiet, 
peaceful though 
brave people, living 
simply on the pro- 
ducts of the forests, 
each community 
taking but little in- 
terest in the affairs 
of the world away 
from their own im- 
mediate neighbor- 
hood. Yucatan pre- 
sents a rich field for 
antiquarian explo- 
ration, and fur- 
nishes fi n e r and 
more numerous 
specimens of anc- 
ient aboriginal h 
architecture a n d cj 
sculpture than have g 
been discovered in > 
any other part of ' 
America. The state 
IS literally dotted 
with the ruins of 
edifices. Fifty or 
sixty d i ff e re n t 
localities havebeen 
visited by different 
explorers, and des- 
cribed as full of 
ruins that have a 
remarkable resem- 
blance to one ano- 
ther. Among the 
explorers may be 


I 1. i 


it iiiifi 



mentioned Waldeck.Stqepens and Catherwood, Norman, Char' 
nay, Maudsley, and more recently Seler, Maler, Thompson, W. 
H. Holmes, and the parties sent out by the Peabody Aluseum. 


and the Museum of Natural History, New York. 

For convenience, the ruins can be divided into four groups, 
the northern group, including Akc, Izamal, Merida, Mayapan; 
the central group, including Uxmal, Kabah, Labna, and nine- 
tetn other localities; the eastern group, the ruins of Chichen- 
Itza; the western group found in Guatemala and Honduras, 
inc uding Copan, which is one of the most famous of American 

I. We begin with Uxmal, a city which presents a great variety 
of structuies, some of which were designed for palaces, oihers 
for religious houses. All of them represent the architectural 
style of the Mayas; some of which have been already^described. 
Mr. Holmes sa)s: ^ - 

"There were five great structures that take rank as specimens of Maya 
architecture. These are, the Temple of the Magician, (A) the Quadrangle. 
(B) called the Nunnery, the House of the Turtle, (C) the House of the 
Pigeons, (F) and the Governor's Pa]ace(E). Certain features of material, cor • 
struction, plan, and ornament are common to all. The stone used is the pale 
vellowish, and reddish gray lime stone of the locality, and was set in mortar. 

the walls were thick, averaging perhaps three feet, and divided neady 
midway by mouldings of a prevailing type, mto an upper and lower zone, 
the entabature decorated with composite sculptures, shoe-shaped coping 
stones, and level roof. There are no windows. The doorways are confined 
to the lower or plam zone of the wall; they occur singly, the great portals 
with columns, not being seen at Uxmal. The jams are faced with cut 
stones like that of the walls, the lintels are of zepote wood. The plan of the 
buildings usually takes the form of a long narrow rectangle with two ranges 
of rooms, four such buildings surrounding a court, thus forming a quad- 
rangle None of the buildina;s are over one story in height; nearly all are 
built on terraces; the apartments are all of good size and height, and the 
vaulted ceilings are formed of the usual wedge-shap'^d arch constructed of 
horizontally placed stones, beveled with aslope. Stairways were numer- 

•The cut is taken from Charnay's book Ancient Cities of the New World. 


CHS, wide, and of stone, and were usually quite steep. A common feature of 
the court was a standing stone orpiiket. 

The Temple of the Majjicians is the most notable in the group, and is 
first to catch the eye of the ^visitor. The steep pyramid supports upon its 
summit, a ruined buildinij, and upon the western face near the top, is a 
second structure of remarkable position and appearance. The heijjht of 
the pyramid is upward of 80 feet, the length is 240 feet, and the width 160 
feet. The temple that crowns the summit is some 70 feet long, and 12 feet 
wide, and contains three rooms, The most striking feature is the temple 
built against the north side of the pyramid, having its roof c n a level with 
the crest of the pyramid. The facade of this temple is the most ornate and 
■composite piece of sculpture, The space above the doorwav is occupied 
by a colossal face or mask, some twelve feet square, worked out in a wonder- 
ful manner. The corner decorations comprise smaller masks, seven in- 
each tier. The exterior wall surfaces of this tempie are entirely covered 
with these ornaments. The pilasters are placed at the sides of the door 
ways, and the lintels consist of three strong beams 

The Nunnery Quadrangle is one of the best known specimens of Maya 
architecture. Four great rectangular structures, low heavy and formal, 
stand upon a broad terrace in a quadrangle, their ornate fronts facing 

Examining the various motives, we find the great snouted mask was 


the favorite, and is found in all the fronts. Next to the mask design is the 
serpent which appears in the east, west, and north fronts. The colossal 
feathered serpent on the west, enclosing panels and interwined facade is a 
most effective piece of work, and must be regarded as a masterpiece of 
decorative sculpture. In the front of the eastern building are four orna- 
ments, consisting of five parallel bars of double headed serpents, and near 
the top a colossal human head. In the north front, the same conventional 
serpent occurs ii pairs, and in varied forms. I'he life size, or colossal 
human figures in the rojnd, form a fourth group of motives. They were 
centerpieces in decorative fields. The apron shield placed at intervals 
along the frieze forms a fifth class of decorative elements. Human figures 
in high relief and phallic symb jIs occur on the exterior walls of the north 

The Gymnasium or Tennis Court, is another structure which is found 
here and at Chichen-Itza, built upon the general level of the site. It is 
composed of two massive walls or oblorg piles of masonry ninety feet long, 
twenty feet high, and twenty feet thick, according to Stephen's measure- 
ments, Mr. Holmes thinks they were so thick oecause thev were designed 
as audience places. 


The Governor's Palace is near the Ball Court. Mr. Holme's 

"This superb building is justly regarded as the most important single 
structure of its class in Yucatan. It is extremely simple in plan and out- 
line and measures 320 feet long, 40 feet wide, and 25 feet high. It is divided 
into three parts, a long middle section, and two short ones, bv transversa.* 
archways. The front wall is pierced by nine principal doorways, the west 
wall is unbroken save by two archways and presents a facade of rare beauty. 
The wall is nine feet thick nearly the whole length, and increases to twelve or 
thirteen feet at the level of the capstones of the interior arches. The rooms, 
rarely exceed ten or twelve feet in width, but they are all arched The length 
reaches sixty feet in two cases. The included belt of sculptures is about ten 
feet wide, and extends entirely around the building. It is therefore, 720 feet 
long, and includes in its ornamentation 20.000 stones, all of which are sculp- 
tured and individual in shape. 


There are several motives, viz., the mask the fret and the lattice, hori- 
zontal bars terminating in serpent heads, the elaborate masks showing 
curved snouts, deep eyes, square ear ornaments, serpent brow band, Stella 
ornament. 1 he arches in this building are the most remarkable in the 
country. As seen from the west this building is truly a wonderful creation, 
and set high above the plane upon its stable terraces, it must have been a 
residence worthy of any barbarian ruler or potentate. The most novel and 
striking features of the building are the two high pointed archways, which 
from their deep recesses extend from roof to floor. These arches are the 
most remarkable in the country; each is 25 feet long, 10 feet wide and 20 
feet high. The spring of the side walls begins near the floor and extends 
to the steep sidewalls above." 


The fagades at Uxmal present a number of human figures 
some of which were finished in the round, one of them in a 
sitting posture, with the head crowned with a mass of plumes 
which were larger even than the body itself. This is repre- 
ser.te in the cut, though the human figure has been destroyed. 

It is to be noticed here, that all of the cities of Central 
America, including Uxmal, Chichen, and Palenque, present 

f^Tvj I III,;* 




a style which was evidently borrowed from their mythology, as 
the serpent figure and Manitou Face are common. Still 
there were on many of the palaces plumed figures and statues 
which represented royal personages, while in the temples 
were tablets M'hich taught religious lessons. 


The House of the Pig-eons is another unique structure. It 
may appropriately be called the Quadrangle of the Nine 
Gables, for it bears upon its roof a colossal comb in the shape 
of gables built of masonry at an enormous expenditure o f 
time and labor, each of the gables perforated with thirty 
rectangular window-like openings in seven horizontal rows. 
From the fa:e of these gables are s°en projecting stones, and 
there can be little doubt that this colossal comb was built for 
the purpose of embellishing the building, and holding aloft 
its sculptured ornaments. 

In front of the Governors house eighty feet from the stair- 
way Stephens found a picote which wis probably used as a 
sun dial, and sixty feet further east the double headed animal 
throne shown in the cut. 

The object of this is unknown, but it miy have been a 
throne on which the sun was supposed to sit.* 

In the same region, ten or twelve miles from Uxmal, is an 
ancient city called Kabah, concerning which very little is 
known. Sixteen different structures were discovered here by 
Mr. Stephens, located in a space about 2,000 x 3,003 feet. Mr. 
Charnay also visited the same locality, and described it as 

"Kabah was an important city, to judge from its monuments, consisting 
of high pyramids, immense terraces, triumphal arches and stately palaces. 
One palace is so richly decorated that the architecture entirely disappears 
under it. Two salient cornices form a frame to immense friezes, which in 
their details would compare to our proudest monuments. The interior has 
a double range of apartments, the finest we have yet seen, supported by half 
arches of overlapping stone. One of the inner chambers is entered from 
the front by three steps cut from a solid stone, the lowest step taking the 
form of a scroll. All the apartments had their walls painted with figures 
which were of brilliant colors, and which must have greatly enhanced the 
striking effect produced by this semi-barbarous, yet with-all magnificent 

The second Palace is likewise reared on a pyramid. Its outer walls 
are plain except three short groups of pilasters, each surrounding the edi- 
fice above the cornice, forming a sloping, rather than a perpendicular frieze. 
The front is pierced by seven openings; two have columns and primitive 
rude Capitols. The ornamental wall narrows toward the top, and is dis- 
tinctly seen through the vegetation covering the roofs. There are remark- 
able bas reliefs at Kabah that represent a conqueror in rich Yucatec cos- 
tume, receiving the sword of a captive Aztec." 

. On the Island of Cozumel in the vicinity, a small temple 
contained a grotesque doorway which differed from any other 
It cortsisted of a series of supports with two heavy stone 
lintels, but in the middle, supporting the lintels was a column 
with a capitol, and carved upon the column was a kneeling 
figure in a distressed attitude as though bearing up a heavy 
weight, thus making a caryatid. 

At Zayi, is a ruined city, of which the principal edifice is 
called the Casa Grande. It is built in three receding stories. 
A stairway, 32 feet wide leads up to the third story on the 

•This has been des Jj ibed i = my work on Myths and Symbols. 


front, and a narrower stairway to the second plitform on the 
rear. The portion of the front is shown in the cut. Ranges 
of pillars or pilasters compose the bulk of the ornamentadon, 
both above and below the cornice. The lintels are of stone, 
and many of the doorwaj s are of triple width, in which cases 
the lintel is supported by two rudely formed columns, about 
six and a-half feet high, wi^h square capitals. The only other 
monument is an immense terrace about 1.500 feet square, a 
building reached by steps, the interior wall decorated with a 
row of pilasters. ^,, 

At Labna, are ruins of buildings equal in extent and magnifi- 
cence any in Yucatan. In one case a mound of forty-five feet 

in height sup- 
Tn ' y? - ^ ' Vffy yi ' ^TTr? iiy i ^ n'vrM nm^l il ported a build- 
ing 20x43 feet 
of the ordinary 
type. In t h e 
corner of this 
H) building is an 

■yy^„.^,yyy,.,..^.^.y,yy,y.^,^ .^.^,,yy^,^,^,y,yy^^,^^,y^,^ O r U 3 m C H t W h 1 C h 

presents t he 
open mouth of 
an alligator or 
monster, from 
whose jaws 
looks out a 
human face, but 
along with it are 
other orna- 
ments CO m- 

posed of prrec- 

i'rmWnmiinmf cues rosettes 

scrolls, and 
_ PALACE AT ZAvi. pal^ leaves. 

II. The ruined city Chichen is next to be studied. This 
belongs to the same group with that of Uxmal, Kabah and 
Izamal, but has some features which are not found elsewhere. 
In the first place it is built on a plain which is remote from any 
stream, and is surrounded by a sandy plain, but is supplied 
with water from two wells or cenotes, which are sunken in the 
rocks, both of which were sacred. The city abounds with 
pyramids which resemble those at Uxmal, Palenque, and other 
cities of that region, upon which Temples, Palaces and other 
buildings were erected. There are over a dozen temples in 
various stages of ruin, all of them decorated with the same 
barbaric ornaments which are found in the other cities of the 
region. The_ Temple called El Castillo or Castle, and the 
Temple of Tigers are the most notable. Another peculiarity 
of the city is that it abounds with columns, and in this respect 
differs from Uxmal, but resembles those at Cozumel, at Zich- 


niook, at Zayi, Labna, and Copan. The chief peculiarity is 
that the serpent is so conspicuous in its ornamentation. We 
have seen that the serpent was an ornament in the faqade of 
the Palace at Uxmal and at Kabah, but here it was sculptured 
not only upon the fagades of the various buildings but served 
as balustrades for the stairways that led to the temple; its body 
formed the columns which stood at the doors of the temple, 
the head and tail scr\ing as the base and capital for the col- 
umns. It also took the place of the snouted mask or Manitou 
Face, which was so prominent at Uxmal Its head projected 
beyond the corners very much as the hooked ornament that 
was common elsewhere. An explanation of this peculiarity 


may possibly be found in the custom which was common 
farther north of taking some particular totem or a nature 
power for a guardian divinit}', the serpent serving the same 
purpose here that the Manitou Face did at Uxmal, the Gigantic 
Human Face at Izamal, the portrait columns or stelae, at 
Copan, and the various idols did at Zapatero. . ^ 

There was in Mexico, as we ha\e seen, an image which 
contained the combination of the human forms ancl human 
hands with serpent heads, tails and fangs, the whole decorated 
with a royal drapery. There were altars also at Copan which 
were as grotesque and forbidding as these serpent figures; 
while in the Usumatsintla Valley, according to the researches 
of Maler there were many human figures which were highly 
ornamented, each city apparently having its own peculiar style 
of ornamenting the temples and palaces, and its own models 
for sculpture; otherwise the description of Chichen-Itza is only 
a repetition of Uxmal, for a similar arrangement of buildings, 
general form of architecture, and formof government pre\ailed 
in each. 


The columns were sometimes above the cornice and some- 
times below; the serpent figure was sometimes seen on the 
facade, and again on the sides of the stairways. The statues 
and human heads and masks were placed abox'e the cornice. 

The serpent balustrade at Chichen presents the same symbol 
as the serpent facade at Uxmal, and suggests the same my- 
thology. The double headed serpent on the Casa de Monjas 
resembles the symbol which was so common on the northwest 
coast, and reminds us of the coat of arms which was common 
in Sumatra. These figures were generally placed over the 


doorwiys in all these regions, as they are over the doorways 
at Uxmal, and suggest a contact between the two continents 
though there is just difference enough between them to make 
it difficult to prove that they had a common origin. 

The banded columns, however, are peculiar to Central 
America, but are very common there. A good specimen of 
these is seen in the cut which represents the palace at Kabah. 
Kabah seems to have been an important city; it consisted of 
higli pyramids, immense terraces, triumphal arches, and stately 



palaces. Charnay says : "The front of the first palace was 
richly decorated with 5gures like those at Chichen, calling to 
mind the gigantic wooden idols met with in the Islands of the 

Pacific." The second 
palace is decorated with 
groups of three short pil- 
asters arranged on the 
sloping frieze. Below the 
cornice are seven open- 
ings, two of which have 
columns and square cap- 
itals. The building seems 
to have had two stories; 
though the first is nearly 
buried under the debris 
which has fallen from the 

Chichen, Mr. Holmes 
M§-1 X says is the most impor- 
Im|;I ^ tant group in Yucatan. 
1^^ u Although it has no single 
^KiB ^ ornamentation to rival 
\' 1 _ the Governor's Palace, or 

j'O ."^^ u Nunnery Quadrangles at 
m'i'''-' 1 t U.xmal, it outranks that 

in the number and 

K city 
, ^ variety of its remains. 

In plan and dimen- 
^ sions the buildings are 
u greatly diversified. The 
2 pyramidtemples, of which 
? there are over a dozen in 
various stages of ruins, 
may be regarded as the 
prevailing type. The 
ground plans generally 
show very simple ar- 
rangements of corridors, 
vestibules or chambers. 
The most unique fea- 
tures are found in the 
"caracol " or the " round 

"The panoramic view 
presents in the fore- 
ground the group of the 
Nunnery or Palace A, with its annexed buildings; B, and 
C. To the right of this is the box-like form of the Akab 
Tzib, D. Beyond and over the east end of the Palace is the 


Caracol or Round Tower, E. To the left of this is the Red"' 
House, F; and beyond over the top of the temple is the ruined 
Pyramid Temple, G. Near the center of the picture is a small 
pyramid, and beyond this is the Ball Court, or G